Miyoko’s Kitchen, known for artisanal, cultured, dairy-free cheese and butter alternatives, has closed a $6 million investment round led by JMK Consumer Growth Partners.
Miyoko’s Kitchen was founded in 2014 by vegan chef Miyoko Schinner, who published multiple cookbooks before opening a restaurant. Now she acts as brand visionary and CEO for the company, carefully and strategically overseeing all aspects of the business. Miyoko’s Kitchen products are sold online and in retail stores across the country including Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Wegmans, Raley’s and Trader Joe’s. One percent of all online sales are donated to a different nonprofit organization each month.
With the investment, Miyoko’s Kitchen plans to develop a new manufacturing facility in Petaluma, California, with 30 times the capacity of its current manufacturing facility. The $6 million will also be used to support the expected growth to come in the future.
Several existing investors, including Obvious Ventures and Stray Dog Capital, joined in the round. Lead investor JMK is a growth equity fund that provides capital and value-added partnership to the most promising emerging consumer product brands. It’s also invested in Babo Botanicals and Supergoop.
"What JMK saw in Miyoko’s was not just a food brand, but a company dedicated to a mission of human, environmental and animal health," Schinner said in a press release. "We weren’t just looking for money; we wanted a shared vision for the future and a common goal. They understand and appreciate my big-picture vision for the company and long-term mission."
Miyoko’s round is the latest example of investor interest in plant-based foods. Fellow dairy alternative company Kite Hill garnered $18 million in investment money last year, and Beyond Meat recently found a strategic investor in Tyson Foods. The interest stems from shifting consumer attitudes, as more consumers reduce their intake of animal products, and plant-based foods continue to develop a reputation as friendlier for the planet—and potentially for health, too. In a 2015 Nutrition Business Journal survey, more than one-quarter of consumers identified their dietary choices as “flexitarian or lessitarian.”