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News for November 11, 2020

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Kaffe Bueno raises $1.3M to turn used coffee grounds into functional ingredients

Kaffe Bueno (Copenhagen, Denmark), a startup that upcycles coffee grounds into ingredients for personal care, supplement and functional food products, has secured €1.1 million (about $1.3 million) in seed funding. The capital comes from Paulig Group Venture Capital; Denmark’s investment fund, Vækstfonden; The Yield Lab; and an unnamed angel investor. With three founders who hail from Colombia, the world’s third-largest coffee producer, Kaffe Bueno was founded in 2016 to extract beneficial compounds from used coffee grounds. Currently it offers two coffee-derived cosmetic ingredients—an oil and an exfoliant—and a fiber- and protein-rich gluten-free flour. Kaffe Bueno’s plans for the new funding include launching several new ingredients in the coming years and securing intellectual property protection for its technology. 

Supplement deal brings Natrol, Jarrow Formulas together under New Mountain Capital

New Mountain Capital (New York, New York) has reached a deal to acquire vitamin, mineral and supplement brand Natrol (Los Angeles, California) from Aurobindo Pharma for an undisclosed price. Natrol, a legacy brand in the space, specializes in natural products for sleep, stress, immunity, brain health and beauty. New Mountain will combine it with another newly acquired supplement brand in its portfolio, Jarrow Formulas (Los Angeles, California), which markets hundreds of nutritional supplements, including probiotics, protein and bone health supplements. The deal is expected to close early next year. 

DoorDash, Burma Superstar join forces for to-go restaurant

Burma Superstar (Oakland, California), a California restaurant known for its tea-leaf salad, partnered with food delivery company DoorDash (San Francisco, California) to open a new restaurant built specifically for delivery and takeout. The menu features a mix of Burma Superstar favorites and new items packed in eco-friendly to-go containers. This investment is the first of its kind for DoorDash, which, along with many other food delivery companies, has reported an uptick in business during the pandemic as diners forego the traditional sit-down restaurant experience. 

TPG Growth acquires low-sugar candy brand SmartSweets

Private equity firm TPG Growth has taken a majority stake in SmartSweets (Vancouver, British Columbia), maker of low-sugar candies. The deal is reportedly worth $360 million, according to some reports. Douglas McFarlane, a former executive at The Clorox Co., Maple Leaf Foods and Voortman Bakery, will be the new CEO, while founder Tara Bosch remains the largest individual shareholder. Founded in 2016, SmartSweets replaces some of the sugar in consumers’ favorite chewy candies with low-calorie monk fruit and allulose so that each serving has only 3 to 4 grams of sugar. It sells its line of candies in Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe. 

Netherlands startup nabs $26 million to brew animal-free proteins

The Protein Brewery (Breda, The Netherlands) is putting a €22 million (about $26 million) series A to work scaling up production of its fermented protein ingredient, Fermotein, as it anticipates U.S. regulatory approval next year and European approval in 2022. Made from a process involving proprietary microorganisms and brewing, Fermotein’s pitch is that it has an amino acid profile that resembles meat. It has applications in meat alternatives, pasta, bakery products, protein bars and ice cream, according to the company. Life science investor Novo Holdings led the round and was joined by new investors Roquette Ventures and Unovis Asset Management. 

Nestlé USA nabs prepared food delivery brand Freshly

In a deal worth $950 million plus potential earnouts of up to $550 million, Nestlé USA (Arlington, Virginia) has acquired meal delivery service Freshly (New York, New York). Freshly ships more than a million chef-prepared meals each week to customers in 48 states, according to Nestlé, which first invested in the company in 2017. The food giant says the deal will fuel business opportunities by joining its expertise in people’s at-home eating habits with world-class R&D capabilities, with Freshly’s consumer analytics platform and distribution network. Nestlé also recently purchased a majority stake in United Kingdom meal kit company Mindful Chef. 

UK eco-friendly natural deodorant brand lands $2.6M

London, England-based Jam Jar Investments led a £2 million (about $2.6 million) seed round for Wild Cosmetics (London, UK), a personal care brand with a line of aluminum-free deodorants. They’re made from essential oils and other natural ingredients, and come in a reusable applicator made from aluminum and recycled plastic. With the new funding, Wild Cosmetics looks to drive international expansion, continue investing in its team and technology, and release new products, like a line of bicarbonate-free deodorants for sensitive skin. 

Millennial brand builder The Naked Market draws in $6M

A $6 million seed round will help The Naked Market (San Francisco, California) add to its growing lineup of food and beverage brands. Started by millennial friends in 2019, The Naked Market is a self-proclaimed “omni-channel food and beverage platform that creates and launches healthy-oriented brands and products across a variety of categories.” Already it’s started up three brands: Beach House Bowls (ready-to-eat acai smoothie bowls), Flock Foods (chicken chips) and Avo Crazy (avocado puffs). The round was backed by Holtzbrinck Ventures, BEB Capital, Integrated Capital, Sequoia Capital, Gardein Protein founder Yves Potvin and others. Over the next 12 months, the company plans to roll out half a dozen new brands, including just-launched Project Breakfast, a line of plant-based and keto-friendly breakfast drinks. 

Connecting dietitians and patients digitally nets Nutrium $4.9M

A digital platform that aims to bring together nutrition professionals, their patients and wellness data has raised a €4.25 million (about $4.9 million) seed round. The funding for Nutrium (Braga, Portugal) came from Portugese investors Indico Capital Partners and the Social Innovation Fund, along with previous investors. Nutrium offers dietitians digital tools to manage their business, as well as nutrition analysis, meal planning and an app for patients to use. The digital health startup has customers in 40 countries and plans to double down in key areas like Spain, France, Italy, the U.S. and the UK over the next two years. 

GF puffs maker GeeFree Foods joins its copacker, The Fillo Factory

Since it started selling frozen gluten-free puff pastries back in 2013, GeeFree Foods (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey) has worked with The Fillo Factory (Northvale, New Jersey) as its copacker. Now it’s been acquired by the company, which also manufactures its own brand of appetizers, snacks, entrees and desserts. Financial terms of the deal weren’t made public, but The Fillo Factory says it plans to grow GeeFree’s gluten-free product line in addition to its sales team, distribution channels and social media reach. GeeFree sells its products in nearly 5,000 U.S. retail outlets. 

Online supermarket Ocado bolsters grocery robotics with 2 acquisitions

As it looks to build out its automation capabilities, Ocado (Hatfield, United Kingdom) announced plans to buy Kindred Systems (San Francisco, California) and Haddington Dynamics (Las Vegas, Nevada) for a combined $287 million. Ocado Group CEO Tim Steiner said the acquisitions will “massively accelerate” the company’s investment and progress in robotic picking technologies for its grocery warehouses. Ocado, which claims to have captured a 15% share of the UK online grocery market, has also made deals with other supermarkets around the world to use its e-commerce and automated warehouse technology. 

Hershey backs Quinn in series D round

Past NCN presenter Quinn Snacks (Louisville, Colorado) says it’s added on to the $3 million series D it announced in August with additional capital, including a minority investment from The Hershey Co. (Hershey, Pennsylvania). Quinn, a salty snack leader in the natural channel, has distribution in more than 7,500 retail stores. It offers pretzels and popcorn with traceable ingredients. The funding will support product innovation and new distribution. 

Under Armour sells MyFitnessPal

Five years after Under Armour (Baltimore, Maryland) acquired MyFitnessPal (San Francisco, California) for $475 million, the global fitness firm announced it’s selling the app for $345 million. Under Armour says the divestment is in line with its strategy to focus more deeply on its target consumer, whom it calls the “focused performer.” There’s also been increasing competition in beginner health and fitness apps. The buyer is investment firm Francisco Partners, which counts GoodRx and Eventbrite among its other portfolio companies. Under Armour said it will also discontinue its Endomondo fitness platform at the end of the year. 

Apeel picks up $30M to help smallholder farms fight food waste

Apeel (Santa Barbara, California) has added $30 million in new funding for a program aimed at helping smallholder farms in emerging markets fight food insecurity and waste. Apeel has developed coating technology that extends the shelf life of produce. With its new funding from the International Finance Corporation, Temasek and Astanor Ventures, it plans to put its technology to use in supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. “With decreased food loss and improved quality throughout the supply chain, smallholder farms will be able to access new market opportunities previously out of reach without a cold infrastructure or means for rapid transport,” the company said in a statement. Apeel has raised more than $390 million since it was founded in 2012.

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