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Moringa company gets second investment from Kellogg
Kuli Kuli (Oakland, California), a pioneer of the superfood moringa, has closed a $5 million Series B financing led by global product development company Griffith Foods and Eighteen94 capital, Kellogg’s venture capital fund. Other investors included InvestEco, S2G Ventures, Authentic Ventures, VilCap Investments and Rocana Venture Partners. Kuli Kuli plans to launch a new moringa ingredient business while scaling up its moringa powder, bars and shots business. Griffith Foods plans to offer moringa ingredients to foodservice customers, processors and retailers globally. Kuli Kuli's retail business tripled following its Series A financing led by Kellogg’s venture fund in 2017. Kuli Kuli was an NCN Presenting Company in 2015.
Bezos participates in $30-million plant-based food deal
NotCo (Santiago, Chile), a startup making plant-based versions of common foods, has received a $30-million investment led by The Craftory. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (through Bezos Expeditions), Kaszek Ventures and Maya Capital also invested. NotCo uses the computer program Giuseppe, based on an artificial intelligence algorithm, to find patterns in traditional plant and food data, and detect which plants should be combined to generate a particular flavor and texture. NotCo’s flagship project is Not Mayo, with Not Milk and Not Ice Cream pending. The company’s mission is to create food that is healthier, more sustainable and avoids the environmental impacts of animal production.
Campbell to sell Garden Fresh brand
Campbell Soup Co. (Camden, New Jersey) is selling its brand Garden Fresh Gourmet to Fountain of Health USA, maker of hummus, dips, prepared salads and frozen desserts. Terms were not disclosed. Garden Fresh Gourmet, which offers salsas, hummus, chips and soup, is part of the Campbell Fresh division, which also includes Bolthouse Farms. In August 2018, Campbell Soup management announced plans to divest its Campbell Fresh businesses. Campbell Soup acquired Garden Fresh Gourmet in 2015 for $231 million. Campbell also is selling Habit, a personalized nutrition business, to the microbiome company Viome.
RightRice closes new financing led by Strand Equity
RightRice (San Francisco, California), a grain substitute made from vegetables, announced $5.5 million in funding with a minority investment led by Strand Equity. Created by Popchips founder Keith Belling, RightRice recently launched exclusively in Whole Foods Markets and on Amazon. RightRice says its vegetable grains have more than double the protein, five times the fiber and almost 40 percent fewer net carbs than white rice. “RightRice is redefining a massive category that has seen little or no innovation,” said Seth Rodsky, managing partner of Strand Equity. Accel Foods also participated in the financing.
Bubs Australia partners with infant nutrition leader in China
Bubs Australia (Sydney, Australia), an organic baby-food and goat-milk formula company, and the Chinese baby-food company BeingMate Baby & Child Food (Hangzhou, China) are planning a joint venture. The partnership will promote and distribute Bubs products in China. BeingMate CEO Bao Xiufei said, “There is a terrific opportunity for Bubs to capture a material share of the super-premium infant formula and organic infant food sectors, both of which are experiencing rapid growth in China.” Chinese parents are attracted to Australia’s reputation for clean and green” infant nutrition products, he said. Publicly traded BeingMate owns the largest number of registered infant formula brands in China and had revenues of 2.467 billion RMB ($358.65 million on Jan. 1) in fiscal year 2018.
Mondelēz invests in food start-up focused on gut-mood connection
Mondelēz International (Deerfield, Ilinois), maker of Oreo cookies, Toblerone and Trident gum, has taken a minority investment in Uplift Food, an early-stage
start-up developing prebiotic functional foods. This is Mondelēz’ first venture investment as part of its SnackFutures innovation and venture hub. New York based Uplift Food is focused on the “mood supportive benefits” of prebiotic foods and currently sells Daily Uplifter, a prebiotic powder made with pumpkin
seed protein, Jerusalem artichoke, xylo-oligosaccharide and resistant starch in the form of organic green banana flour. “Together with Uplift Food, we have a
unique opportunity to disrupt the functional food category by delivering ‘snackable’ products focusing on gut health,” said Tim Cofer, executive vice president and chief growth officer of Mondelēz International. The SnackFutures team will work with Uplift Food to make gut health “more understandable, accessible, and enjoyable.” Uplift was founded by Kara Landau, an Australian dietitian and author.
Beanfields closes Series B to grow better-for-you chips business
Beanfields (Anaheim, California), a brand of chips made from beans and brown rice, closed a Series B financing led by PowerPlant Ventures with NRV and Western Technology Investment participating. Terms were not disclosed. Founded in 2010, Beanfields reported 12 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth, which included eight consecutive record-breaking sales weeks in the latter part of 2018. The chips are vegan, certified gluten-free and non-GMO, with four grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving.
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