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News for September 1, 2021

Recent Transactions in the Nutrition and Health & Wellness Industry:

Zesty Paws to be acquired by H&H Group

Pet supplement brand Zesty Paws (Orlando, Florida) has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Health & Happiness (H&H) Group International Holdings Ltd. “We are delighted to be working with H&H Group to further realize Zesty Paws’ vision of being recognized as the world’s leading health and wellness company for dogs and cats,” said Steve Ball, CEO of Zesty Paws. The company, which has been privately owned, will continue to operate independently but says it will benefit from H&H’s expertise and resources to further drive the brand’s growth.


Starday raises $4M to take on Big Food

Cutting down the path of product development to six months from 18 months is the goal for newcomer Starday. The company turns data into products based on current trends and customer preferences, challenging the model that Big Food has operated by for decades, which the company believes has neglected health and the environment. Starday has raised $4 million in seed funding and expects to develop four or five brands in the next year. Gooey Snacks, a low-sugar natural chocolate hazelnut spread is the company’s first product.


Cactus Water brand Caliwater gets big celebrity lift

Vanessa Hudgens and Oliver Trevena-backed cactus water brand Caliwater (Los Angeles, California) secured $2 million in a seed round led by a group of celebrities, bringing the valuation of the startup to $10 million. Discovering the product in Mexico, Hudgens and Trevena relaunched the brand in the U.S. after buying out the partners and spent nearly two years reformulating the product and rebranding it with aluminum cans. It’s being sold primarily through e-commerce, foodservice and hospitality channels. The duo says the beverage has surprised them for gaining traction as a cocktail mixer.


Taika raises $2.2M in seed funding

Innovative coffee company Taika (Walnut, California) has raised $2.2 million in a seed round led by Obvious Ventures. Taika creates functional blends of coffee, tea and adaptogens, and will soon launch a canned functional matcha latte beverage using organic, ceremonial grade matcha from Kagoshima. The round also included participation from Kindred Ventures, Human Ventures and Quiet Capital, as well as multiple angel investors.


First Bev takes controlling stake in kombucha brand Health-Ade

First Bev has acquired a controlling stake in Health-Ade and has appointed a new CEO, managing partner of First Bev Jack Belsito, who has 35 years’ experience in the beverage industry, including as the CEO of Snapple and CEO of Voss Water. The kombucha company had additional investment from Manna Tree and Vail. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Health-Ade saw retail sales of over $200 million last year and distribution in over 45,000 stores.


Celebrity Chef Michael Chernow raises $2.2M to launch lifestyle brand

Michael Chernow, known as a restaurateur, chef, television host and entrepreneur, has raised $2.2 million to launch Kreatures of Habit (New York, New York), a lifestyle and wellness brand with the goal of helping people establish healthy habits. The brand originally started out as a café concept, but Chermow pivoted to the consumer goods space when the pandemic hit. He is starting with a direct-to-consumer instant oatmeal product called The PrOATagonist. Chernow brought on former RX Bar’s chief marketing officer Victor Lee to lead the brand’s go-to-market strategy.


Taylor Farms invests in Pure Green Farms

Taylor Farms (Salinas, California), which produces fresh fruits and vegetables including convenience-focused salad kits, has made an investment in Pure Green Farms. Pure Green Farms grows, packs and ships leafy greens year-round from its hydroponic farm in Indiana, which is a climate-controlled environment equipped with high-tech machinery and has the potential to be expanded by up to 300 acres. “We’re excited to venture into the industry of indoor growing with this investment,” said Bruce Taylor, founder and CEO, Taylor Farms. “Our customer partners have asked for a national solution and this is our first step.”


Primal Pet Foods bought by Kinderhook Industries

Primal Pet Foods (Fairfield, California) has been purchased by Kinderhook Industries, a private investment firm that purchased Prairie Dog Pet Products, Himalayan and Holistic Hound in recent years. Kinderhook plans to combine all four brands under a new name—Primal Pet Group. Primal Pet Group’s capabilities include premium minimally processed diets, treats and supplements from Primal Pet Foods, freeze-dried, smoked and natural dog treats by Prairie Dog, hard-chew cheese dog treats by Himalayan Corporation and CBD pet supplements under Holistic Hound.


Organic period product startup nabs $2M in seed round

TOP the organic project (Boston, Massachusetts) has raised $2 million in an extended seed round for its organic period brand that makes plant-based, hypoallergenic tampons and pads using 100% organic cotton that is free from synthetics, toxins, pesticides, dyes and fragrances. The round was led by Massachusetts-based Mass Mutual through the MM Catalyst Fund, The Impact Seat, Maine Angels and Dirigo Angel Fund. The women-owned brand will use the funds to expand its presence in retailers nationwide as well as for marketing initiatives and growing its team.


BrightFarms acquired by Cox Entreprises

Cox Enterprises (Atlanta, Georgia) has bought BrightFarms (Irvington, New York), which it held a majority stake in since 2020. BrightFarms is an indoor farming company that produces locally grown packaged salads. “BrightFarms is a perfect example of our Cox Cleantech strategy: positively impacting the world through profitable, mission-driven businesses,” said Steve Bradley, vice president of cleantech for Cox Enterprises. BrightFarms plans to construct a national network of new high-tech farms that will accelerate the salad industry’s transition to indoor farming. While most salads are grown in California and shipped across the U.S., BrightFarms grows and delivers its greens to local supermarkets as soon as 24 hours from harvest.


Mealworm farming company Beta Hatch secures $10M

Beta Hatch (St. Louis, Missouri) has raised $10 million in funding in a round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, with participation from Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis, which are both signed on as existing investors. Beta Hatch, which farms mealworms to be used for livestock and pet products, is planning to expand its flagship farm in Cashmere, Washington, making it the largest of its kind in North America. The location is currently powered by renewably sourced energy and the new facility will allow for a 10 times the company’s current output over the next year.


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.Zesty Paws to be acquired by H&H Group