Pete Speranza, Sarno brothers

© Wicked Kitchen/Good Catch

Wicked Kitchen Acquired by Ahimsa Companies in Strategic Industry Consolidation

Wicked Kitchen, a global plant-based food brand, along with its associated brands Good Catch and Current Foods, has been acquired by the Ahimsa Companies, becoming part of its plant-based industry consolidation effort.  Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Kitchen, stated, “We are aligned in our mission, and we believe that Wicked Kitchen is stronger today and better positioned to serve the health and environmentally conscious consumer who does not want to sacrifice on taste or convenience.” Wicked Kitchen, founded by chefs Derek and Chad Sarno, offers a wide range of plant-based foods, including frozen meal solutions, desserts, ingredients, and snacks. Its products are available in over 20,000 retailers and online, with over 50 products in the US and more than 150 in the UK. Industry consolidation …

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KPS acquires plant-based ingredient business Primient

© Primient

KPS to Acquire Tate & Lyle Plant-Based Ingredient Business Primient

In 2022, US investor KPS Capital Partners acquired a controlling interest in Tate & Lyle’s Primary Products business in North America. This led to the establishment of the independent plant-based ingredient business Primient. Now, Primient has announced that KPS will acquire the remainder of the company, bringing it into sole ownership. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of July. Primient previously announced that it would make an “unprecedented” $700 million in capital investments over the next five years, with the aim of modernizing the business’ manufacturing footprint and encouraging growth. “Primient’s performance has exceeded our expectations, and this second investment represents KPS’ continued commitment to Primient, its customers, and employees,” said Michael Psaros, Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner of KPS. “Under our …

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Freshcut Foods

© Freshcut Foods

UK Food & Beverage M&A Activity Reaches Highest Deal Volume Since 2016

A report by corporate finance house Oghma Partners has found an increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the UK food and beverage sector. Deal volume increased in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, reaching the highest levels since T1 2016. However, deal values remained low; only 4.7% of deals were above £50.0 million in Enterprise Value, and none surpassed £100.0 million. Total deal value decreased by 31.7% compared to the same period last year. This is largely due to challenging macroeconomic headwinds in the UK, which have persisted despite the recent easing of market conditions. Furthermore, 14% of deals were acquisitions out of administration, as inflation and high interest created a difficult trading and funding environment …

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Voyage Foods founders

Founders Adam Maxwell and Kelsey Tenney. © Voyage Foods

Voyage Foods Secures $52M for Future-Proof Allergen-Free Foods, Bringing Total Raise to $94M

Californian food innovation company Voyage Foods has secured $52 million in a funding round, bringing the total amount it has raised to $94 million. The round was co-led by Level One Fund and Horizons Ventures, with participation from SOSV, Collaborative Fund, and Nimble Partners. Voyage Foods is working to recreate popular products and flavors without the top nine allergens. The company has already developed peanut-free and hazelnut-free spreads, both made using roasted seeds; in the fall of 2023, the spreads launched at Walmart stores US-wide, in an unusual success for a startup. Additionally, Voyage Foods is addressing issues such as climate change and deforestation by creating alternatives to foods with a large environmental impact. These include bean-free coffee made from roasted chickpeas and rice hulls, …

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Crème de la Crème ice cream

© Crème de la Crème

Greenyard Acquires Belgian Plant-Based Ice Cream Producer Crème de la Crème

Global fresh produce supplier Greenyard has announced the acquisition of Crème de la Crème, a Belgian food tech company producing plant-based ice cream and frozen desserts. Crème de la Crème has 25 years of experience in the sector and has developed hundreds of plant-based ice creams, including for major companies such as Alpro and Carrefour. The products are sold as far afield as the Middle East and East Asia. Last year, Greenyard acquired Italian plant-based ice cream producer Gigi, which has developed a unique method of replacing cream with plant fibres. Through the acquisitions, Greenyard says it aims to offer a range of plant-based products “for any moment of the day”. “We are happy to integrate the Crème de la Crème team into the Greenyard …

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Strong Roots Good Made Easy#

© Strong Roots

McCain Foods Announces Acquisition of Irish Plant-Based Frozen Food Brand Strong Roots

Following its initial investment of $55 million in Strong Roots back in 2021, McCain has now announced the acquisition of the Ireland-based “veg-first food brand” for an undisclosed sum. Following the acquisition, Strong Roots will operate as a distinct business under the leadership of Charlotte Turton, while Samuel Dennigan will remain “working alongside the team to propel further portfolio innovation and brand growth,” says the company. A brand advisory council will be established, including Dennigan and members of the Strong Roots and McCain teams, as well as external advisors, to expedite future growth. Shortly after McCain took a minority share in 2021, Strong Roots founder Samuel Dennigan spoke to vegconomist about his optimism for the future of the fast-growing frozen food brand, saying, “We’re very …

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Torg raises funding for AI-powered platform for ingredient sourcing

© Torg

Torg Raises €2.7M for AI-Powered Platform Matching Buyers With Food Suppliers

German startup Torg has closed an oversubscribed €2.7 million seed funding round for its AI-powered platform, which helps food service and private label buyers connect with food and beverage suppliers. Torg features a database of more than 100,000 verified suppliers, over ten times more than are present at major trade fairs such as Anuga and SIAL. The platform streamlines supplier discovery, communication, negotiation, and financing to make the sourcing process as simple as possible. It features several product categories, including a vegan category with 282 suppliers. In just two minutes, buyers can set up a product request and distribute it to hundreds of manufacturers. The supplier database features profiles, certifications, product capabilities, and contact information for the manufacturers; Torg claims that handling these large unstructured …

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Shicken receives a further £4M from Veg Capital

© SHICKEN Foods

Veg Capital Triples Investment for SHICKEN to Become a Global Brand & Major Producer Within 5 Years

UK-based SHICKEN Foods, creator of vegan Asian dishes (presently curries and kebabs) featuring highly realistic “chicken” created from a blend of soy, wheat, and pea proteins, today announces it has received an additional £4 million from Veg Capital, to take the brand fully global. This brings the total funding to date to £6 million in SHICKEN from the non-profit VC firm. The fresh capital will be used for further CAPEX investment in the brand’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kent, making it one of the UK’s few dedicated plant-based, nut-free manufacturers. The company will now have the capacity and capability to produce various branded and private-label products for both retail and foodservice. Made using a unique technology that creates a chargrilled chicken-like texture, the SHICKEN products …

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Nukoko raises funding to scale cocoa-free chocolate

© Nukoko

Nukoko Raises $1.5M to Scale “World’s First” Cocoa-Free Chocolate Made From Fava Beans

UK-based company Nukoko has raised $1.5 million in seed funding to scale up its technology to produce cocoa-free chocolate from fava beans. The round was led by Oyster Bay Venture Capital, with participation from SOSV and The Mills Fabrica alongside a grant from Innovate UK. Due to climate change, cocoa has seen a supply deficit in recent years, causing prices to rise by a huge 89% in 2023 and double again in the first months of 2024. Cocoa production is also associated with deforestation and significant carbon emissions. Nukoko claims to have developed the first chocolate made from fava beans, a nitrogen-fixing crop that can be grown within the UK. Using a fermentation process similar to traditional cocoa fermentation, the company transforms the beans into …

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Poseidona raises funding for algal protein ingredients

© Poseidona

Female-Led Startup Poseidona Raises €1.1M for Innovative Algal Protein Ingredients

Spanish food tech company Poseidona has raised €1.1 million in a pre-seed funding round, with the aim of further developing its innovative and sustainable algal protein ingredients. The round was led by climate tech and blue economy VC fund Faber. Other participants included Dozen Investments, Sprout & About, Proveg International, and WA4STEAM (Women For STEAM). Poseidona uses algal sidestreams and invasive seaweeds to create cost-effective proteins with significantly lower water use, land use, and carbon emissions than animal-based or conventional plant-based proteins. Currently, the company is focusing on side streams from the production of gellifiers, but it also plans to begin using Rugulopterix Okamurae, an invasive seaweed in the Mediterranean. This will contribute to the management of marine ecosystems, and could be expanded to use …

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© ANDFOODS

New Zealand’s ANDFOODS Raises $2.7M for Legume-Based Dairy Alternatives

New Zealand startup ANDFOODS, a spinoff from Massey University and the Riddet Institute, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding for its technology to produce legume-based dairy alternatives. The startup has developed plant-based creams and milk powders, produced by using fermentation to remove flavour off-notes while retaining excellent nutritional benefits and functional properties. The creams are claimed to have “eclipsed all other plant-based creams” in testing, with an overrun (ability to take on air and maintain shape) comparable to the UHT dairy creams used by commercial kitchens and food manufacturers. The products are also allergen-free. The funding round was led by Icehouse Ventures, and the capital will be used to commercialise the dairy alternatives and accelerate R&D. ANDFOODS launched less than a year ago, but …

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Umaro bacon in sandwich close up

© Umaro Foods

Umaro Foods Raises $3.8M for Seaweed Bacon, is “Laser Focused on Undercutting Hormel and Smithfield on Cost” 

Berkeley California’s Umaro Foods, producer of bacon from the proprietary red protein, Umaro, announces a raise of $3.8 million following a reported sixfold growth in sales. With the financing — a combination of equity and grant funding — Umaro is set to launch its innovative, patent-holding product into retail and expand its seaweed platform technology platform. The equity funding round was led by AgFunder with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Climate Capital Bio, Ponderosa Ventures, and early investor and NBA athlete Chris Paul. The company states that this Seed 2 equity funding round, along with a grant from the DOE’s ARPA-E program for the application of Umaro’s seaweed processing technology to new products, “not only validate Umaro Foods’ innovative approach but also secure its position …

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Avena Foods oats and pulses

© Avena Foods

Protein Industries Canada Announces $19.2M Investment in Canadian Plant-Based Ingredients Project

Global innovation cluster Protein Industries Canada has unveiled a $19.2 million investment initiative to develop innovative Canadian ingredients for new snack and food options. Avena Foods, a key player in this project, will leverage the funding to create oat and pulse ingredients that will replace processing aids in products by Big Mountain Foods, Danone Canada, and Old Dutch Foods. This will lead to new consumer offerings, including allergy-friendly alternatives. The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, stated, “The global food market is in need of sustainable and nutritious ingredients, and Canada is helping meet that demand. By supporting projects like this one, Protein Industries Canada, one of Canada’s global innovation clusters, is securing Canada’s position as a global supplier of plant-based ingredients.” Protein …

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VFG group acquires Tofutown

© VFC

VFG’s Strategic Acquisition of TOFUTOWN to Boost Group Revenues Over €100M, Further M&As on Horizon

Vegan Food Group (VFG), the recently rebranded holding company formerly known as VFC Foods Ltd, announces it is on track to becoming one of Europe’s largest plant-based manufacturers with the acquisition of TOFUTOWN, a German producer with revenues of €60 million. Following the group’s revelation of its intentions to create a “vegan Unilever” at the start of this year, VFG’s fourth acquisition, following Clive’s Purely Pies, Meatless Farm, and its chick*n brand VFC, creates a major European CPG company boasting 80 SKUs in the UK and EU across 21,000 distribution points. The combined entity of the four brands is already poised to achieve profitability in 2024, with a clear line of sight for scaling group revenues beyond €100M. This is just the start of VFG’s …

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Heura closes Series B round, forming plant-based alliance

© Heura

Heura Raises €40M, Forming Strategic Plant-Based Alliance With Upfield & More

Spanish plant meat leader Heura has raised €40 million in Series B funding, in what it claims is the largest plant-based funding round of 2023. Heura states the funding will drive the company to profitability and reinforce its position as a frontrunner in the industry. The brand is already a leader in the Spanish market and continues to expand across markets such as the UK, France, and Italy. The round saw participation from leading plant-based company Upfield, venture capital firm Unovis Asset Management, food tech fund the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, and impact investor Newtree Impact. According to Heura, these investors will form a strategic coalition, creating “one of the biggest plant-based alliances”. The companies will join a board that aims to increase Heura’s impact …

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The COLIPI team

The COLIPI team (from left to right): Erich Müller, Dr. Philipp Arbter, Dr. Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer, Maximilian Webers, Maëlle Grimault, Dr. Jan Herzog and Arjun Krishnakumar © COLIPI

Hamburg: COLIPI Receives €1.8M in Seed Financing to Further Develop CO2-Neutral Oil

Thanks to an innovative fermentation process, COLIPI is achieving a breakthrough in more sustainable alternatives to petroleum and palm oil for a wide range of industrial sectors. Investors in the seed financing include the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg (IFH), Nidobirds Ventures GmbH and Stefan De Loecker. The capital will be used to expand the team, test the market together with partner-made products, and scale the technology. The startup, founded in 2022 by Philipp Arbeiter, Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer and Maximilian Weber, is a spin-off from the Technical University of Hamburg. The founders aim to produce millions of tons of climate oil per year from 2039 and displace this amount of CO2 severalfold. The seed financing that has now been completed is another …

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Planet A Foods founders

Drs. Max and Sara Marquart. © Planet A Foods

Planet A Foods Raises $14.5M to Fuel Mass-Market Expansion for Cocoa-Free Chocolate

German food tech startup Planet A Foods has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding to fuel the international expansion of its cocoa-free chocolate, ChoViva. The round was led by leading climate venture fund World Fund, with participation from Omnes Capital, Cherry Ventures, Mudcake, and more. Some of the funding has already been used to scale up production at Planet A’s factory, allowing the company to produce 750kg of ChoViva per hour. This will help to make the chocolate alternative — which is already very affordable — even cheaper. The funding will also be used to propel Planet A’s mission of becoming a leader in the chocolate alternatives market. It comes after the company secured a partnership with Lindt last year to launch a limited-edition …

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NFL players invest in robot-powered meat-free restaurant

© Kernel

NFL Stars Invest in Chipotle Founder’s Robot-Powered Meat-Free Restaurant

Kernel, the robot-powered meat-free restaurant concept created by Chipotle founder Steve Ells, has received funding from two star NFL players. Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (who is vegan) and New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones have both invested in the company, receiving equity stakes in exchange. The first Kernel restaurant is set to open in the Flatiron District of New York City on February 12, at 315 Park Ave South. It will initially focus on lunch, opening from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Kernel previously raised $36 million in Series A funding in August; participants included Raga Partners, Willoughby Capital, Rethink Food, and Virtru. Improved efficiency Kernel aims to address inefficiencies in food service by using a semi-automated operational process, featuring a robotic arm to …

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Meat the Mushroom shark tank

© Meat the Mushroom

Meat the Mushroom Secures $150,000 Investment from Shark Tank for Mushroom-Based Vegan Bacon

Baltimore-based startup Meat the Mushroom has secured a $150,000 investment from “Shark Tank” investors Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner. This deal, struck on the popular ABC show on Friday, gives the investors a 33.3% stake in the company, known for its clean-label vegan bacon alternative, Shroomacon. Founded in May 2021 by Marvin Montague Jr. and his wife Aleah Rae, Meat the Mushroom reflects Montague Jr.’s personal health journey. Transitioning to a vegan diet, he credits his diet change with overcoming an early diagnosis of heart disease and chronic asthma, according to a statement on the company’s website. This paved the way for Shroomacon, a simple product made from five ingredients: king oyster mushrooms, olive oil, natural smoke flavor, salt, and black pepper. Unlike many meat …

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Plan(e)t Foods carbon-negative plant-based ice cream

© Plan(e)t Foods

Plan(e)t Foods Pitches Carbon-Negative Plant-Based Ice Cream on Dragons’ Den Greece

Plan(e)t Foods, a Greek company producing what is claimed to be the world’s first carbon-negative plant-based ice cream, has made an appearance on the business pitching TV show Dragons’ Den Greece. The pitch was so successful that the Dragons competed to invest in Plan(e)t Foods, with the company successfully gaining a funding deal. A clip of the show can be viewed on Plan(e)t Foods’ YouTube channel. “Having spontaneous (unsponsored) reviews of your product being aired on a prime time TV show = priceless,” said founder Greg Bograkos on LinkedIn. “We’re replacing old-fashioned dairy ice cream, taking one step at a time.” Plan(e)t Foods now plans to launch a range of four ice cream bars at major supermarket chains across Greece. The company previously gained listings …

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