Investments & Acquisitions

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.

“Chocolate will become more expensive than caviar unless new steps are taken”

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 vegan chocolate bar containing both regular chocolate and ChoViva.

Planet A has also launched several products in collaboration with leading European retailer REWE, and has more retail partnerships in the pipeline. Furthermore, the startup has partnered with companies such as cookie brand Griesson – de Beukelaer, oat and granola company Peter Kölln, food and beverage producer Spitz, baked goods group Hans Freitag, and airline Lufthansa.

© Planet A Foods/Lindt

“Gearing up for international expansion”

Planet A Foods was founded in 2021 by twins Drs. Max and Sara Marquart, with the aim of addressing the sustainability issues and high costs associated with cocoa production. Max is a material scientist by background and has previously founded two startups, while Sara is a food chemist and expert in biotechnology with a specialty in flavour formation.

After hundreds of experiments, the pair developed a fermentation process that uses proprietary technologies to transform natural, locally sourced ingredients such as oats and sunflower seeds into a chocolate alternative. The product has a very low carbon footprint, and can stand alone or be used in combination with conventional chocolate. Due to the natural sweetness of the ingredients, ChoViva also contains up to 30% less sugar than regular chocolate.

Planet A joins other companies worldwide developing alternatives to chocolate, including the UK’s WNWN, Italy’s Foreverland, and the US’ California Cultured.

“In the future, chocolate will become more expensive than caviar unless new steps are taken,” said Planet A Foods co-founder and CEO Dr. Max Marquart. “We are working every day to be part of the solution with ChoViva, through building a second pillar next to chocolate to take some load off the cocoa supply chain. This Series A round has already enabled us to deliver large-scale production and continuously supply our customers with ChoViva. We have become a reliable, trusted industry partner for the German confectionery industry, and demonstrated that we can deliver at price parity with traditional chocolate providers. Now we are gearing up for our international expansion in 2024 and beyond, and are looking for the next Willy Wonkas to help us scale and enter new markets!”

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