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Celsius to acquire Nordic wellness company Func Food
Celsius Holdings Inc. (Boca Raton, Florida), maker of the Celsius fitness drink, is acquiring nutritional products marketer Func Food Group Oyj (Helsinki, Finland) for approximately $15.1 million in cash and the assumption of $9.5 million of debt. Func Food had approximately $37 million in revenue in 2018. The acquisition gives Celsius access to European markets and a broader revenue base. Func Food markets and distributes a portfolio of branded beverages, protein bars, supplements and superfoods, and has been distributing Celsius in the Nordic countries since 2016. Celsius said it would finance the acquisition from a follow-on equity public offering expected to net approximately $26.9 million.
Culture Fresh raises Series A to co-pack dairy alternatives
Culture Fresh Foods (Naugatuck, Connecticut) has landed an $11 million Series A led by CEI Ventures and FreshTracks Capita. Funding will be used to convert a former Danone dairy facility into one for making plant-based yogurts, puddings and spreadable cheeses from nuts, oats and seeds. Founder Tom Moffitt previously established Commonwealth Dairy, a joint venture with the German yogurt company Ehrmann AG, which made its own Greek yogurt brand Green Mountain Creamery.
Cultured plant cheese developer closes seed round
New Culture (San Francisco, California), a startup making animal-free dairy cheese, has closed $3.5 million in a seed round led by Evolv Ventures, a venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz. Founded in late 2018, New Culture uses microbial fermentation to make dairy proteins from plant-based materials, saying its end product is “sustainable, healthy, ethical and indistinguishable” from traditional dairy cheese. Chief Science Officer Inja Radman explained that plant cheeses lack casein micelle, a supra-molecular structure of dairy proteins found only in mammalian milk.
Magic Spoon raises $5.5 million for retro breakfast cereal
Direct-to-consumer cereal brand Magic Spoon (Brooklyn, New York) has received $5.5 million in seed funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Magic Spoon makes better-for-you cereals reminiscent of sugary, frosted childhood favorites but using tapioca flour and chicory root fiber in place of grains. The cereals are also high protein, low carb, gluten free and sweetened with a blend of allulose, stevia and monk fruit. Co-founders of Magic Spoon Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz sold their previous company, Exo, a maker of cricket protein bars, to Aspire Food Group in 2018. Exo was an NCN presenting company in 2015.
Wells expands brand portfolio with Halo Top
Wells Enterprises Inc. (Le Mars, Iowa), maker of Blue Bunny and three other brands, is acquiring the Halo Top brand from Eden Creamery LLC (Los Angeles, California). Financial terms were not disclosed. Halo Top is a high protein, low sugar, low-calorie ice cream that comes in both dairy and vegan formats and is sweetened with organic stevia and erythritol. Family-owned Wells is one of the largest ice cream manufacturers in the United States, making both branded and private label products. According to Statista, Wells’ flagship Blue Bunny brand had sales of $47.5 million in 2018, while Halo Top was estimated at $71.9 million.
Finger food for babies grabs $2.5 million investment
Elizabeth Street Ventures led a $2.5 million investment in Tiny Organics (New York, New York), a brand of organic finger foods designed to complement a breast milk or formula diet. The soft food bowls make it easy for babies to help themselves or “self-feed,” teaching them dexterity and encouraging them to explore new flavors and textures, the company says on its website. The finger foods include paella, ratatouille and coconut curry and are sold at retail, online and via text-to-buy.
Ownership change for NurturMe baby food
NurturMe (Austin, Texas), a portfolio company of Advantage Capital, has been acquired by Grays Peak Capital. NurturMe provides baby food and children’s snacks that emphasize healthy digestion. The certified organic products are free from common allergens and include dairy-free yogurts, and pouches with blends of fruit, vegetables and ancient grains. Silverwood Partners was the exclusive financial advisor to NurturMe.
Bellamy’s Organic baby food under offer
Chinese dairy products giant Mengniu Dairy (Hong Kong) has offered AU$1.5 billion in cash (US$1.03 billion on Sept. 16) for Bellamy’s Australia (Launceston, Tasmania), the parent company of the infant formula brand Bellamy’s Organic. The Chinese government is encouraging self-sufficiency in the baby formula market, leading to international acquisitions by domestic companies. In FY19 Bellamy’s net revenue decreased to $266 million, but the outlook was for 10%-15% net revenue growth in FY20.
Baby food for better brains raises $6.7 million
Cerebelly (Santa Cruz, California) has raised $6.7 million in funding for its organic baby food formulated to support brain development, according to Fortune. Investors include Imaginary Ventures. Cerebelly organic baby food is founded on a patent pending technology that “maps key developmental windows” for each part of the brain and their “corresponding nutritional needs.”
Soya International gives AAK a stake in specialty lecithin
AAK (Malmo, Sweden) says it is one of the world’s leading suppliers of specialty lecithin after acquiring a majority stake in Soya International (Manchester, United Kingdom). The newly named business will trade as AAK Soya International Ltd., supplying non-GMO, organic and specialty lecithin. “In the oils and fats sector, AAK is globally recognized as the Co-Development Company. We partner with our customers to find optimal solutions for their products... Now we can also deliver this value proposition in the lecithin sector,” said Alec van Veldhoven, senior director of AAK Soya International.
Vegan yogurt maker files for $15 million offering
Lyrical Foods Inc., doing business as Kite Hill (Hayward, California), has raised $10 million out of a total offering amount of $15 million, according to an SEC Form D filing dated in September. Kite Hill makes almond-based milk, yogurts and cheeses. General Mills’ 301 Inc. venture arm led a $40-million investment in Kite Hill a year ago, with Cavu Venture Partners participating.
Pure Harvest enters CBD hemp market
Pure Harvest Cannabis Group Inc. (Denver, Colorado) has acquired Colorado-based Prolific Nutrition LLC, a hemp and CBD company, in a stock and cash transaction. Prolific will operate under a wholly owned subsidiary called Pure Harvest Hemp Inc. Prolific Nutrition was formed in 2017 and sells CBD tinctures, gummies, capsules and lotion. It also makes hemp supplements and hemp oil treats for pets. Prolific’s founder and CEO Daniel Garza will serve as CEO of Pure Harvest Hemp.
Bhang diversifies into health and wellness market with Red Ace
Bhang Inc. (Miami, Florida), an umbrella company for cannabis brands, has acquired beet beverages maker Red Ace Organics (Boulder, Colorado) for nearly $2 million. Founded in 2011, Red Ace makes concentrated organic beetroot shots distributed in Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets and on Amazon. This strategic acquisition, gives Bhang entrée into the energy drinks category and the health and wellness market. Bhang has worked with Red Ace over the past two years through a joint venture to produce and distribute CBD-infused beet juice shots.
Karat Packaging files for IPO
Karat Packaging (Chino, California,), a maker of food packaging including the Karat Earth eco brand, filed in September for a $50 million IPO. Karat makes single-use disposable products primarily for restaurants and foodservice. Karat Earth is the company’s line of compostable cups, food containers and utensils made from renewable, plant-based materials. Karat had net sales of $175.4 million in 2018, up 25% over the prior year, and a net loss of $100,000, primarily due to an increase in operating and income tax expenses. Karat’s customers include Applebee’s, Chili’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, In-N-Out Burger and Panda Express.
ACH baking company buys Anthony’s Goods
ACH Food Companies Inc. (Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois), a manufacturer of cooking oils and baking products, has acquired Anthony's Goods (Los Angeles, California), a digital-native brand in the natural and organic food space that sells almond and coconut flours, nuts, sweeteners, spices and other gluten-free ingredients. ACH said the acquisition meets consumer demand for high quality natural and organic options and will be a strong complement to ACH’s core business.
Fitplan raises capital for personal training app
Fitplan (Los Angeles, California) has raised $4.5 million in capital led by Corazon Capital and Sam Yagan, co-founder of OKCupid, Sparknotes and former CEO of Match Group. The Fitplan personal training app connects members to top trainers for workout plans and advice. Launched in 2016, Fitplan offers routines for all levels of fitness from beginner to pro. Fitplan's roster of fitness personalities includes Kim Kardashian's personal trainer and bodybuilding legend Mike O'Hearn.
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