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Beverages, plant-based foods lead deals in first half of 2016

The NCN Transaction Database recorded a 6 percent increase in transaction activity in the nutrition and health and wellness industry through the first six months of 2016.

Nutrition Capital Network, an organization that connects investors with high-potential growth companies in the nutrition and health and wellness industry through four annual investor meetings and year-round networking, has released its top transaction lists for the first half of 2016 (see top 10 lists below). Top deals are ranked not only by size, but also reflect strategic importance or the emergence of a new category.

The NCN Transaction Database recorded a 6 percent increase in transaction activity in the nutrition and health and wellness industry through the first six months of 2016 to 333 transactions, compared to 2015’s record pace of 627 transactions for the year. NCN measures activity in the number of transactions tracked globally in its NCN Transaction Database in two categories: merger and acquisition, and investment or equity financing (not including debt or strategic partnerships).

NCN notes a continuing surge of investments food and beverage companies so far in 2016, the primary focus of NCN’s New York and San Francisco Investor Meetings. NCN tracked 60 financings in branded food and beverage in January-June 2016 compared to 103 in all of 2015, itself a record year.

Trends highlighted in NCN’s top ten lists:

  • International activity continues to grow in traditional nutrition industry channels like supplements and natural and organic foods: Chinese companies acquired North American companies Iovate (MuscleTech and Hydroxycut) and Doctor’s Best; Coca-Cola acquired Latin America’s leading soy-based beverage brand AdeS; and the largest branded food and beverage investment in health and wellness so far in 2016 was Shanghai-based ClearVue’s $30 million bet on CHIC Fresh, one of China’s leading high pressure processed juice companies.
  • Beverages lead the charge in branded food and beverage investments with high-end sodas Q Drinks and Spindrift netting $11 million and $7.2 million equity investments, respectively; kombucha, aloe and cleansing featured in investments in Health-Ade, LA Aloe and Daily Greens; and home cold-press juicing system company Juicero raising $70 million.
  • Plant-based alternatives continued to attract capital as General Mills’ 301 venturing arm invested $18 million in nut-based milk, cheese and yogurt company Kite Hill, its fifth investment following Beyond Meat and Good Culture among others; Cricket protein company Exo raised $4 million in March 2016 and later received an investment from Japanese company Dentsu.
  • Strategic acquirers generally made a larger splash in M&A with strategic acquisitions by Hershey, Hormel, Coca-Cola, and Clorox ranked NCN’s top 10. Also on the list are Nutraceutical Corporation’s acquisition of natural personal care veteran Aubrey Organics and Swedish firm Probi gaining marketshare in the growing but increasingly competitive probiotic segment with the acquisition of Nutraceutix.

Top 10 transactions in nutrition, health and wellness in first half of 2016

Acquired Acquirer Value ($mil)
AdeS The Coca-Cola Co. $575
Albion International Balchem Corp. $112
Aubrey Organics Nutraceutical Corp. N/A
barkTHINS The Hershey Co. N/A
Doctor's Best Xiamen Kingdomway N/A
Iovate HS Int'l Xiwang Foodstuffs Co. $730
Justin's Nut Butter Hormel Foods $286
Nutraceutix Probi AB $105
Renew Life The Clorox Co. $290
Swanson Health Swander Pace Capital N/A


Top 10 equity financing transactions in food and beverage in first half of 2016

Company Investor/s Amount ($mil)
Back to the Roots Individuals; Acre (Campbell), S2G Ventures, Red Sea $5; $10
CHIC Fresh ClearVue Partners (China) $30
Daily Greens Single investor $5.5
Dang Foods Sonoma Brands N/A
Exo Accel/individuals; Dentsu $4; N/A
Health-Ade Cavu Ventures $7
Kite Hill 301 INC (General Mills) $18
LA Aloe Coca-Cola VEB N/A
Q Drinks First Beverage $11
Spindrift Beverage Repurchase by officer $7.2


Nutrition Capital Network produces annual lists of top transactions in the nutrition and health and wellness industry, in addition to a summary of investment and M&A activity, derived from the NCN Transaction Database maintained since 2004. NCN lists are based on dollar value and strategic interest to the nutrition industry.

The NCN Transaction Database tracks transactions in seven industry categories: branded food and beverage (natural/organic/functional), supplements, ingredients, contract manufacturing, OTC and personal care, retail and distribution, and technology (delivery, apps, e-commerce, etc.). The database is available to NCN’s 46 Cornerstone Investor members.

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