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News for June 29, 2023

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Gorgie raises $6.5M

Gorgie, a wellness beverage brand created by Michelle Cordeiro Grant, has secured $6.5 million in pre-seed funding after its launch in January. The funding was obtained from a group of investors consisting of founders and executives with diverse industry backgrounds rather than formal institutions or venture capital partners. The capital will be utilized to expand Gorgie’s team, enhance its retail presence, improve distribution, invest in marketing efforts and drive product innovation.


Unilever acquires Yasso

Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company, has announced its plan to acquire Yasso, a popular premium frozen Greek yogurt brand based in the United States. Yasso, founded in 2009, has become a major player in the low-calorie indulgent frozen snack market. This acquisition aligns with Unilever’s strategy to expand its premium brand portfolio, which already includes Ben & Jerry’s, Magnum, and Talenti. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the third quarter of 2023, pending regulatory approval, and the financial details have not been disclosed.


Mediterranean food funding

Afia Foods, a Mediterranean food company based in Austin, Texas, has secured $3 million in Series A equity financing. The funding will allow the company to expand its core product line and establish a new 23,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and headquarters in Taylor, Texas. Afia Foods produces a variety of falafel flavors and offers an exclusive online product called kibbeh in Texas. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Yassin Sibai, expressed excitement about the investment and highlighted the importance of strategic partners who share their vision for growth. Rocky Hardin, CEO of Embree Capital Markets Group and a member of the Afia board of directors emphasized the brand’s commitment to delivering healthy and delicious Mediterranean food options while honoring its Syrian family heritage and community involvement.


AHARA launches personalized nutrition

Consumer health tech company AHARA has announced its beta launch and raised over $10 million in seed funding. Co-founded by tech entrepreneur Julie Wainwright and physician nutrition specialist Dr. Melina Jampolis, AHARA offers personalized nutrition recommendations based on clinically validated science. The platform utilizes data from health questionnaires, genetic and biomarker testing and an AI-enabled algorithm to identify key nutrients and provide actionable nutrition plans. AHARA is supported by a board of industry-leading doctors and nutrition professionals and aims to make evidence-based, personalized nutrition accessible to all.


Matcha maker raises $3.6M 

Cuzen Matcha, an innovative company revolutionizing the matcha tea market, has raised $3.6 million in a Series A funding round. The lead investor, Digital Garage Group, known for its technology and venture capital investments expertise, will help expand Cuzen Matcha’s global audience and support its business-to-business (B2B) expansion. Cuzen Matcha’s at-home matcha maker and matcha leaf system, which produces freshly ground matcha from organic leaves, have garnered acclaim and positioned the company as a frontrunner in the industry. The funding will enable Cuzen Matcha to expand its market presence and cater to the growing demand for matcha.


PartnerSlate raises $4M

Online marketplace PartnerSlate, which connects food brands with contract manufacturers, has raised $4 million in a funding round led by Supply Change Capital. PartnerSlate’s marketplace aims to streamline collaboration in the $200 billion contract manufacturing industry for food and beverage brands. The platform allows CPG brands to find suitable contract manufactures quickly by using data science instead of traditional cold-calling methods, saving both parties time and effort. The funding will be used to expand project management features, invest in sales and marketing and accelerate the growth of the online marketplace.


RodeoCPG expands its solutions

RodeoCPG, a provider of retail growth solutions for better-for-you consumer packaged goods brands, has announced its expanded product offerings and successfully completed a fundraising round. Led by investors such as TAWANI Ventures and BFG Partners, the funding will support RodeoCPG’s vision to empower CPG brands in the retail sector. The company’s new approach focuses on delivering specialized solutions tailored to the unique challenges faced by CPG brands, including sales management and execution, sales order management, deduction analysis and dispute resolution and sales planning and data analysis. With a team of industry experts and innovative technology, RodeoCPG aims to reshape the future of retail growth for better-for-you CPG brands.


AF Drinks secures investment

Pernod Ricard’s venture arm, Convivialité Ventures, has made a significant investment in AF Drinks Ltd., a New Zealand-based, alcohol-free beverage brand. The non-alcoholic category has experienced rapid growth, surpassing $11 billion in value in 2022. AF Drinks has quickly gained a significant market share in the ready-to-drink non-alcoholic spirits category in New Zealand and aims to expand further in the United States with the support of Convivialité Ventures. The brand’s unique branding, high-quality taste and early consumer traction have set it apart, and it plans to leverage Pernod Ricard’s global reach to expand into more markets.


Nature’s Path is headed into the baby food lane

Nature’s Path Organic Foods, a North American cereal and snack food brand, has acquired Love Child Organics, a Canadian baby food and children’s snack brand. The acquisition aims to make organic food more accessible and strategically position Nature’s Path in the baby food market. Nature’s Path will integrate Love Child Organics into its portfolio, including exploring expansion into the U.S. market and developing new product innovations. Both companies are committed to delivering premium, organic and sustainable food, and the acquisition is expected to positively impact children’s access to nutritious meals. The financial details were not disclosed, and the transaction is set to close by June 30.


BetterBrand’s valuation reaches $170M

Food tech company BetterBrand has raised $6 million in Series A funding, bringing its pre-money valuation to over $170 million. The company, known for its innovative grain-changing technology, has developed a line of better-for-you baked goods, including its flagship product, The Better Bagel, which has significantly reduced net carbs and increased protein content. BetterBrand has experienced rapid growth, expanding its product offerings and securing placements in over 1,000 stores in the United States. The new funding will be used to further expand into new markets, invest in product development and drive continued innovation.


Omeat’s novel meat approach

Los Angeles-based startup Omeat has emerged from stealth mode with $40 million in funding and a novel approach to scaling cultivated meat production. Unlike other companies that aim to eliminate animal components from cell culture media, Omeat plans to extract growth factors and other components from the plasma of living cows on its farm. This approach, which involves a pain-free plasmapheresis process, is more humane, scalable and cost-effective, according to Omeat founder and CEO Dr. Ali Khademhosseini. The company is building a pilot plant in Los Angeles and aims to launch with ground beef products.


CellX secures $6.5M funding 

CellX, a Chinese cellular agriculture startup focused on cultivated meat, has secured $6.5 million in a Series A+ funding round, bringing its total funding to over $20 million. The funding will support CellX’s goal of achieving pilot-scale production of cultivated meat products. The company is collaborating with global universities and companies to accelerate the commercialization of cultivated meat, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. CellX aims to produce cultivated meat at a large scale and low cost, recognizing the significance of these factors in impacting the global food supply chain.


Hyfé raises $9M for biomanufacturing

Hyfé, a company founded by former ExxonMobil and LanzaTech engineers, has raised $9 million in seed funding to repurpose nutrients found in food-processing wastewater and create feedstocks for biomanufacturing and clean water. The funding will strengthen commercial partnerships, expand the employee base and advance pilot-scale technology demonstrations. By utilizing underutilized waste carbon streams, Hyfé aims to address the challenge of cost and supply of sugar feedstocks in biomanufacturing, contributing to the decarbonization of industrial sectors and promoting sustainable, affordable alternatives to traditional feedstocks.


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