News for October 25, 2023

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Salted raises $14M funding

Salted, a company specializing in building quick-serve restaurant brands, has raised $14 million in Series B funding to support its vision of expanding to “thousands of locations” in the coming years. The Los Angeles-based company, founded in 2014, operates six brands, including moonbowls, Cauliflower Pizza and lulubowls. Salted distinguishes itself by owning its intellectual property, operating its brands, and focusing on cap-ex light models, with an emphasis on delivery and takeout as core competencies, as well as offering food that customers feel good about bringing into their homes. The funds will be used for hiring, technology investment and potential brand acquisitions


Mexican investors back Tia Lupita

Tia Lupita Foods has secured $2.6 million in seed funding, entirely backed by Mexican investors, including Santatera Capital and GBM Ventures. This funding, reflecting confidence in Tia Lupita’s business model, will be utilized to accelerate new product development and enter new markets in the ‘better-for-you’ Mexican food segment. The company, founded by Hector Saldivar based on his family’s hot sauce recipe, has experienced significant growth and diversification, offering products like Grain-Free Cactus Tortilla Chips and Salsa Macha. Tia Lupita’s renowned hot sauces and sustainable offerings are available in major retailers nationwide


Just Ice Tea receives funding boost

Seth Goldman’s Eat the Change has secured $14.5 million in funding to expand distribution of its Just Ice Tea line. The funding, led by Collaborative Fund and S2G Ventures, will also be used to scale production and support major purchases of bottles, caps, tea and ingredients. Just Ice Tea aims to fill the gap left by Coca-Cola’s discontinuation of Honest tea, offering an organic, Fair Trade Certified, and less-sweet beverage. The launch, planned for September in Washington, D.C., and nationwide in October, represents a rapid entry into the market compared to the organic growth of Honest tea


Lanch launches influencer food brands

Berlin-based startup Lanch, which collaborates with influencers to create ad hoc food delivery brands, has secured $6.9 million in funding. Lanch’s influencer-paired food brands operate in “virtual kitchens,” utilizing existing restaurant and retail kitchen spaces. Despite concerns about the concept’s seeming like gimmicks and previous issues in the U.S. with similar models, Lanch differentiates itself by emphasizing a tech-first approach, employing quality-control software for data analytics. The startup aims to provide insights to creators and restaurants, optimizing efficiency and avoiding controversies like those faced by some U.S. counterparts. The company plans to expand to Austria and other European markets


Bon Vivant secures €15 seed funding

Precision fermentation startup Bon Vivant, based in Lyon, France, has secured €15 million in seed funding to further its development of animal-free milk proteins with lower environmental impact than traditional dairy. The company uses biotech techniques to reprogram yeast microorganisms and is focused on a B2B business model, positioning itself as a supplier to the food industry rather than a competitor. Bon Vivant aims to provide versatile yeast-grown milk proteins, including whey and casein, to meet various functionality needs for multinational food industrials. The startup plans to scale production and obtain regulatory clearances, with the U.S. market expected to be its first target


Sophim secures €20M funding

Family-owned natural cosmetics and personal care ingredient company Sophim has secured €20 million in funding to double its production capacity across two sites in France and Spain and facilitate international expansion. The funding, led by Smalt Capital, supports Sophim’s focus on naturally derived squalane, particularly its olive-derived Phytosqualan, in response to market demand for natural solutions. Sophim aims not only to increase production capacity but also to enhance environmental sustainability by reducing energy costs and adopting greener processes, reflecting a commitment to ecological responsibility and sustainable development in its business project


Oddlygood acquires Planti

Finnish plant-based food manufacturer Oddlygood has strengthened its position in the dairy alternative market by acquiring the Nordic brand Planti. The strategic move places Oddlygood at the forefront of spoonable snacks in Sweden and cooking products in Finland. With a record turnover of €23.5 million in 2022 and a +40% organic growth in the first half of this year, Oddlygood highlights the significance of the Planti acquisition as its first step in the growth journey. The acquisition includes Planti’s products, brand and intellectual property rights, making Oddlygood the second-largest player in plant-based dairy alternatives in Sweden and the third-largest in Finland


BlueNalu raises $33.5M in Series B Round

San Diego-based cellular aquaculture startup BlueNalu has secured $33.5 million in a Series B funding round from both new and existing investors, according to U.K. venture capital firm Agronomics. This Series B follows BlueNalu’s previous funding rounds, including a $60 million convertible note financing in 2020. BlueNalu, which plans to produce whole-muscle bluefin tuna toro through cellular agriculture, is currently scaling up its pilot facility in San Diego and aims to break ground on a large-scale plant in 2026, with commercial-scale production targeted 18 months later. The company expects strong returns, with projected margins exceeding 70% at a large-scale facility, as it leverages its technology to provide a consistent, high-value product free of mercury and microplastics.


Moolec Science secures $30M

Moolec Science, an agricultural biotech startup, has secured $30 million in funding from strategic investors, including Grupo Insud, through convertible notes. The company, known for its molecular farming platform, modifies plants like yellow peas and soybeans to express proteins from animals like cows and pigs, enhancing the taste, texture and nutritional profile of meat alternatives. Moolec’s advanced products include Chymosin SPC, a bovine protein for cheesemaking, and a gamma-linoleic acid (GLA)-rich nutritional oil from genetically engineered safflower, which has received FDA and USDA approval. The funding aims to bolster Moolec’s financial position in a challenging market and support research and development projects for its innovative plant-based protein technology


Toast-It wins Shark Tank deal

Miami-based frozen food brand Toast-It secured an investment on Shark Tank from entrepreneur Daniel Lubetzky, founder of Kind Snacks. The co-founders, Coco Cabezas and Mafe Romer received offers from both Kevin, O’Leary and Lubetzky but opted for a $150,000 investment in exchange for 20% equity from Lubetzky. Toast-It, known for its frozen, ready-to-toast arepas made with organic ingredients from Latin America, plans to use the capital to expand its retail presence, market the brand and enter new markets, initially targeting the Northeast and Texas.


VFC acquires Clive’s Purely Plants

VFC Foods, a vegan fried chicken company, has acquired Clive’s Purely Plants, a UK-based plant-based food manufacturer known for its pies, quiches, rolls and nut roasts. This acquisition, the second for VFC in less than four months, is expected to boost annual sales by 30%. The deal includes Clive’s Purely Plants’ Dartmouth production facility, marking VFC Foods’ entry into primary manufacturing. The move aligns with VFC’s strategy to expand in the U.K. and Europe, tapping into the growing demand for high-quality plant-based products


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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