News for October 11, 2023
Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:
Wonder Group to acquire Blue Apron
Food delivery company Wonder Group is set to acquire Blue Apron, a meal-kit maker brand, in an all-stock deal valued at $103 million. Blue Apron stockholders will receive $13 per share, representing a substantial 137% premium to the stock’s recent closing price. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter. Wonder Group aims to create a platform offering more choices, flexibility and convenience for delivering curated meals with quality ingredients to a broader customer base in the U.S. Blue Apron will maintain its brand identity following the transaction
Lumi secures seed funding
Lumi, a Los Angeles, California-based food and beverage packaging startup, has successfully closed its seed funding round with support from investors including Innovent Group, Hydra Group and Responsibly Fund. The undisclosed funding will be allocated to expand marketing and sales efforts, build inventory to meet large orders and enhance product development for additional beverage packaging options. Led by CEO Kevin Diamond, Lumi is set to launch the LumiCup, a disposable and recyclable aluminum cup. The cup is aimed at reducing single-use plastics, with shipments to hospitality, entertainment and travel consumers beginning in early 2024.
ITV putting plant-based meat on the screen
ITV has agreed to subscribe for £1.5 million of shares in Plant Meat Limited, a leading plant-based meat brand, through its AdVentures Invest initiative. The deal also allows ITV the option to subscribe for additional tranches of £1.5 million each, and in return, Plant Meat Limited will receive advertising inventory across ITV’s channels and ITVX. This investment comes as Plant Meat Limited experiences significant growth, adding £1.6 million to chilled meat-free sales in the last three months and forecasting a revenue of £20 million this year, marking a 50% increase from the previous year. The brand is expanding its product portfolio and recently launched in the Netherlands through an exclusive partnership with Albert Heijn.
Successful Series A for Austrian startup Kern Tec
Austrian food tech startup Kern Tec has secured €12 million in a Series A funding round to scale up its production of plant-based dairy alternatives made from upcycled stone fruit pits. The Vienna, Austria-based company, founded in 2019, uses pits from fruits such as apricots, plums and cherries that would otherwise go to waste, turning them into oil and ingredients for dairy-free products. Kern Tec plans to expand its European production and enter the U.S. market in 2025, using the funds to increase production capacity, develop new technologies and grow its product line in the dairy alternative category.
REV GUM raises $6M
REV GUM, a mission-driven, energy gum company, has raised $6 million in a Series A round led by YETI Capital, with key investors including executives from Whole Foods and Drunk Elephant, and athlete Lance Armstrong. The company, founded by entrepreneur Blake Settle, offers fast-acting caffeinated gum with zero sugar as a healthy alternative to energy drinks. Currently the top-selling energy gum in the U.S., REV GUM is available in 20,000 retailers, including big names like Walmart, Target and 7-Eleven, and has seen a significant annual revenue increase of over 250%. The funding is expected to support the company’s online and retail expansion
Silver Ventures sells NatureSweet
Silver Ventures has announced the sale of NatureSweet, a leading Controlled Environment Agriculture company in North America, to Blue Road Capital, an independent investment firm focused on food and agriculture. NatureSweet, under Silver Ventures’ stewardship, has been a groundbreaking leader in the fresh produce industry, creating branded snacking tomatoes and becoming a top-selling brand in North America. Blue Road Capital aims to accelerate NatureSweet’s growth through vertical integration, innovation and expansion into new distribution channels, emphasizing a commitment to the company’s people and principles of transforming the lives of agricultural workers.
New funding and a new CEO for Boisson
U.S. non-alcoholic beverage retailer Boisson has secured a $5 million bridge investment from Convivialite Ventures and Connect Ventures, supporting the company’s local and global expansion, partnerships and product collections. Boisson aims to be a disruptive force and a distinguished omni-channel platform for suppliers and customers. Sheetal Aiyer has been appointed as the new CEO, taking over from founder and president Nick Bodkins, as the company enters a significant growth phase. Bodkins will continue overseeing Boisson’s long-term vision and explore new international business opportunities.
Nurture Brands acquires The Juice Executive
Nurture Brands has entered the manufacturing sector by acquiring The Juice Executive, a plant-based, fast-moving consumer goods group, for an undisclosed amount. This move adds a premium range of fresh and high-pressure processed juices, functional shots, smoothies, cleanses and dairy-free nut milks to Nurture Brands’ portfolio. The acquisition provides Nurture Brands with a certified manufacturing base and the opportunity to introduce innovative products to the market, with Juice Executive’s founder, Alexandra Auger, continuing to lead the juice operation and joining Nurture Brands’ leadership team
Trace Materials completes €36.6M Series A
Hamburg-based startup Traceless Materials has secured €36.6 million in a Series A funding round led by United Bankers and Swen Capital Partners. The funds will be used to scale production of the company’s eco-friendly plastic alternative, beginning with the construction of a demonstration plant. Traceless Materials aims to distinguish itself in the market by offering a bio-based, home-compostable and plastic-free solution derived from agricultural residues, claiming a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and fossil energy use compared to traditional plastics.
Solo Coffee sells stake
U.K.-based Solo Coffee has sold a minority stake to Kliro Capital Partners, a move aimed at supporting the ready-to-drink coffee brand’s expansion into the U.S. and boosting its direct-to-consumer channel. Solo Coffee, founded in 2018, is known for its RTD espresso concentrate, a key ingredient in espresso martini cocktails, which are currently distributed to more than 2,000 hospitality and restaurant businesses in the U.K. Kliro Capital Partners, having recently acquired alcoholic beverage group Intercontinental Brands Limited, will aid Solo Coffee’s U.S. production and distribution efforts. Solo Coffee, with 160% sales growth, reaching £1.17 million ($1.4 million) in the last financial year, expects to achieve a full-year profit by April.
Whipnotic secures $2.5M funding
Whipnotic, a low-calorie and low-sugar whipped cream brand, has secured $2.5 million in seed funding led by GTM Investments, with participation from other investors. The funds will support retail expansion from the current 400 stores to potentially thousands in 2024. The company, known for its innovative flavors like Strawberry Swill and Brownie Batter, utilizes patented nozzle technology, allowing consumers to release fruit juice and flavor essences into the whipped cream, creating a unique swirl effect. With a focus on growing brand awareness, Whipnotic aims to tap into the growing demand for better-for-you dairy products and anticipates a potential B2B play for licensing its technology in other product categories in the future.
Disclaimer: NCN does not warrant the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any NCN news item. Before relying on any NCN News item the information should be independently verified.
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