Posts by Carol Ortenberg
Today PepsiCo announced its intent to acquire better-for-you snack producer BFY Brands — the maker of PopCorners snacks and co-packer of some PepsiCo snacks. Upon closing, BFY will roll into PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America division.
Hatching a new brand can take time. Such was the case for emerging brand Egglife, which entered stores this month after a three-year path to market. Backed by the family behind the country’s second largest egg producer, the company hopes to disrupt a tired category — wraps — and “snackify” the humble egg.
With new plant-based brands sprouting every day, there’s more competition in the category than ever before. But these start-ups will have another champion, with the launch of The Garden, an investment vehicle and service provider for emerging plant-based food and beverage brands. Brands accepted into The Garden will receive funds and services valued at up to $250,000 from investment firm New Crop Capital and meal kit company Purple Carrot.
Pasta brand Banza announced today the close of a $20 million round of funding co-led by Enlightened Hospitality Investments (the growth equity fund associated with restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group) and fund Prelude Growth Partners. When Banza launched in 2014, the concept of bean-based pasta alternatives was new and fairly untapped. Now, with plenty of companies also selling these offerings, Banza feels its time to focus on their brand and enter new channels.
Los Angeles-based private equity firm Butterfly today announced its acquisition of a majority stake in “clean” protein brand Orgain. The deal is Butterfly’s fifth investment and second in beverage, following the purchase of fresh juice focused Bolthouse Farms earlier this year.
Functional food brand Good Day Chocolate announced last week it would be entering the CBD fray with the launch of three new CBD-enhanced chocolate bites. The launch follows the close of $3 million in investment this summer and the addition of a new Chief Growth Officer with experience in the segment.
The past few weeks have seen multiple investments in the red hot CBD space from existing CPG investment firms, as well as deal news in other trending categories such as alternative protein and the frozen food aisle.
Christina Tosi, founder of the whimsical New York City-based bakery Milk Bar, attributes visiting the grocery store as a child as what “ignited her imagination” and encouraged her to pursue a career in food. So she’s going back. The award-winning pastry chef and Master Chef judge will try to inspire the next generation of chefs when she launches a line of brands based on Milk Bar into retail stores next year, helped by an investment from Sonoma Brands and the firm’s CEO and founder Jon Sebastiani.
After investing close to $100 million over the past few years, the Reum brothers aren’t going to have to look for partners on an investment-by-investment bases anymore. Their investment firm, M13, has raised $175 million for a second fund, this time with capital committed from a pool of limited partners.
Leading food and beverage fund VMG is moving from investor to operator with the launch of a new corporate entity that will acquire, run, and create snack brands. Velocity Snack Brands (VSB) kicks off today with the acquisition of salty snack brand Popchips; the company will be led by Amit Pandhi, the former CEO of frozen treat brand Arctic Zero.