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News for August 18, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Miyoko’s Creamery raises $52M in Series C funding round

Plant-based cheese leader Miyoko’s Creamery has secured $52 million in a Series C funding round ahead of the brand’s upcoming launch of a plant-based liquid mozzarella cheese product. The round, which was led by PowerPlant Ventures and had additional participation from other investors, will help the company accelerate global distribution of its products and expand the company’s product line, as well as revamp its existing top sellers. Miyoko’s, which is retailed in 30,000 stores in the U.S., plans to bring the new liquid mozzarella, as well as its existing portfolio, into new distribution channels in conventional grocery, club and foodservice.


Private label online retailer Brandless secures $118M

Brandless (San Francisco, California), a private label online retailer, has raised a substantial $118 million in a new funding round led by Clarke Capital Partners. “Brandless is transforming commerce by creating influence-as-a-service and democratizing access to better-for-you products,” said Brandless CEO Cydni Tetro in a statement. With this funding, the company will acquire more digitally native brands that share the company’s mission as well as launch an influencer-as-a-service program.


J. Lo and Alex Rodriguez backed RTD coffee brand Kitu Life raises $160M

Startup Kitu Life Inc. (Austin, Texas), which makes Super Coffee, has doubled its valuation to over $500 million with its latest round of funding that raised another $106 million. The round was led by Henry Ellenbogen’s Durable Capital Partners and saw participation from others. Kitu Life was started in 2016 by three brothers. The partnership with Durable will fuel the company’s distribution expansion plan to move into more convenience and mass channels as well as allow investment in national advertising campaigns.


Lifeway Foods buys drinkable yogurt brand GlenOaks

Kefir and fermented probiotic brand Lifeway Foods, Inc. (Morton Grove, Illinois) has acquired certain assets of GlenOaks Farms for $5.8 million. GlenOak Farms (Laguna Beach, California) was founded in 1984 and makes six different drinkable yogurt products made with fruit puree and California dairy. “We are very excited to welcome GlenOaks Farms into the Lifeway family, as it will further solidify our strong position in California and the Western U.S.,” said Julie Smolyansky, president and chief executive officer of Lifeway.


BBQ sauce maker Born Simple acquired by Mizkan America

Mizkan America (Mount Prospect, Illinois) has acquired organic barbeque sauce and broth brand Born Simple in an attempt to move into the natural foods channel. Born Simple makes a range of barbeque sauces and broth concentrates that are sold in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Through the acquisition, Mizkan says it will be targeting the millennial and Gen Z markets. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Plant-based cereal startup OffLimits raises $2.3M seed round

OffLimits, a new “fun cereal” startup that launched during the pandemic and offers two cereals that sell for $8.50 per box, has raised $2.3 million in friends and family, pre-seed and seed financing. Investors include TikTok executive Nick Tran and others. OffLimits plans to use the funding to scale into retail, hiring new talent and building up inventory in a continuing effort to disrupt the fun cereal category and challenge legacy brands. The brand was launched in 2020 out of Science Inc.’s startup studio.


Butterfly Invests in supplement brand MaryRuth Organics

MaryRuth Organics (Los Angeles, California), a past Nutrition Capital Network presenter, has reached an agreement to partner with Butterfly, a Los Angeles, California-based private equity firm specializing in food. Though terms of the transaction were not disclosed, MaryRuth’s founder and CEO, MaryRuth Ghiyam, will retain a significant ownership position alongside Butterfly. The company makes organic and vegan dietary supplements including vitamins, probiotics, herbal and adaptogen supplements and more, in liquid, gummy and chewable formats.


Emmy’s Organics sold to Grupo Bimbo

Mexican bakery firm Grupo Bimbo has acquired U.S.-based gluten-free, coconut-based cookie brand Emmy’s Organics (Ithaca, New York) for an undisclosed sum. The firm announced the purchase along with its second-quarter earnings issued July 29. “This acquisition gives Grupo Bimbo an entry point into the quickly growing better-for-you cookie and sweet baked goods market,” the company said. Grump Bimbo operates a U.S. subsidiary, Bimbo Bakeries USA, which launched a direct-to-consumer channel this year called for brands the like of Sara Lee and Entenmann’s. Emmy’s is a past NCN presenter.


Genomatica nabs $118M in Series C funding round

Sustainability leader Genomatica (San Diego, California) has raised $118 million in a Series C funding round led by life science investor Novo Holdings, with additional participation by existing and new investors including Viking Global Investors, Casdin Capital and others. Genomatica makes molecularly identical replacements for materials traditional derived from petroleum fossil fuels, such as clothes, cosmetics, packaging and carpet. The company plans to use the funds to scale production and continue investing in new technologies.


Constellation Brands takes minority stake in Hop Wtr

Beer maker Constellation Brands has made a minority stake in sparkling water brand Hop Wtr (Los Angeles, California). Hop Wtr was launched in 2020 as a beer alternative that includes hops to give it the taste of beer along with adaptogens and nootropics like l-theanine and ashwagandha. Constellation’s venture capital group, which has also invested in cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp., made the investment and Hop Wtr remains independently owned.


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