Winter investments roundup

From major acquisitions to groundbreaking funding rounds, explore these noteworthy investments from early 2024 that are paving the way for sustainable innovation and growth throughout the year.

Gianna Rosenbach, Content Creator, CPG and Digital

April 8, 2024

6 Min Read

New Hope Network's Nutrition Capital Network follows investment news to see what financial moves could significantly influence the natural products industry and identifies trends with funding support. Here is a round up of the latest investments that caught this editor's eye. 

The new year may start in January for the rest of the world, but natural products industry movers and shakers look to Expo West in early March to set the tone for the year to come.

And while spring might be right around the corner, it's worth looking back at several of the noteworthy investments that brought some excitement to the early months of 2024.

Funding was notoriously difficult in 2023, but optimism is on the horizon for positive change in 2024. This winter saw several big acquisitions as well as significant funding for innovation and expansion. Read on for some of the biggest investments that caught our editor's attention over the past few months.

Platinum Equity acquires two big names from Danone
Los Angeles-based investment firm Platinum Equity has acquired Horizon Organic and Wallaby from Danone in a deal whose financial details were not disclosed. The acquisition is pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. Horizon Organic is the world's largest USDA Certified Organic dairy brand, known for pioneering organic dairy beverages since 1991. Wallaby is an Australian-inspired Greek-style yogurt made with organic ingredients.

Compass Diversified partners with Honey Pot
Compass Diversified partnered with The Honey Pot Company in a $380 million deal to expand its feminine care products market offerings. Co-founder Beatrice Dixon will continue to lead the company as CEO and chief innovation officer, expressing excitement about the partnership with CODI, aligning with their values of destigmatizing feminine care through accessible products and promoting holistic wellness. The transaction is set to be finalized in February, marking a strategic collaboration in the growing demand for health-conscious feminine care options.

Perfect Day secures $90M
Perfect Day, a leader in animal-free dairy tech has secured up to $90 million in a pre-series E funding round and announced a new executive team. Co-founders Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi are stepping down as the company focuses on B2B operations, particularly the manufacture of animal-free whey protein. The shift in strategy aims to scale up and demonstrate unit economics for the brand’s precision fermentation technology, with plans to announce a major consumer packaged goods partner launch in 2024.

$15.4M for cocoa-free chocolate
Planet A Foods secures $15.4 million in Series A funding to expand globally with its cocoa-free chocolate, ChoViva, amid climate-related challenges in the cocoa industry. Founded by siblings Max and Sara Marquart, the Munich-based company aims to provide sustainable alternatives to cocoa, leveraging fermentation technology to create its product from natural ingredients like oats and sunflower seeds. With plans for international expansion starting in the U.K. and extending its fermentation platform to other plant-based ingredients, the company intends to use the funding to scale production and hire additional scientists.             

Alter Eco acquired
Trek One Capital has finalized its acquisition of Alter Eco Foods, a prominent producer of premium organic dark chocolate bars, truffles, granola and quinoa. With Alter Eco's commitment to eco-friendly practices and its leading position in the organic/natural retail sector, the acquisition marks a strategic move for both companies. Keith Bearden, the newly appointed CEO of Alter Eco, expresses anticipation for the partnership with Trek One to elevate the brand's offerings further.

The Zero Proof closes Series A
The Zero Proof, a leading online retailer of adult non-alcoholic beverages, has successfully closed its Series A funding round led by Asahi Group Beverages & Innovation, further solidifying its position in the $1.8 billion U.S. market. The company plans to use the funding to expand its distribution network, hire salespeople and broaden its non-alcoholic spirits and wine portfolio. With a 300% revenue growth in Q4 from 2022 to 2023, The Zero Proof anticipates continued success driven by the growing demand for adult non-alcoholic beverages, particularly among Millennials.

Culture POP secures new funding
Culture POP, the Massachusetts-based soft drink brand co-founded by Nantucket Nectars' Tom First, has secured $21 million in new investment capital, mainly from new investors such as Enlightened Hospitality Investments and a private investment by Howard Schultz. The company capitalizes on growing consumer interest in gut-friendly sodas, reflecting a broader trend in the beverage market.

Oishii Secures $134M
US vertical farming company Oishii secures $134 million in Series B funding led by NTT and contributions from various investors specializing in food tech and sustainability. The funding will fuel Oishii's expansion into new markets, establishing a solar-powered facility and the integration of advanced robotics. Oishii, renowned for its innovative approach to producing cultivation, aims to revolutionize agriculture while prioritizing taste and sustainability, as expressed by CEO Hiroki Koga and NTT's president Akira Shimada.

MALK secures funding, unveils new products
MALK Organics, a plant-based milk company, has received significant funding from investment firms Benvolio Group and Rotor Capital. The new capital enables the brand to expand its retail presence, enhance marketing efforts and innovate in product development. The company has also introduced three new products—almond-based milk, oat-based milk and cashew-based milk—with a focus on clean, organic ingredients. These developments align with MALK Organics' mission to provide accessible and healthier alternatives to consumers, with plans for increased distribution in major retail chains like Whole Foods, Albertson's, Stop N Shop, Kroger and Target.

Liquid Death's valuation soars
Los Angeles-based water brand Liquid Death has achieved a $1.4 billion valuation after securing $67 million in new financing, doubling its value from 2022. The company, known for its unique marketing and expanding product lines like iced tea and flavored waters, plans to use the funds for further product development and profitable growth strategies, emphasizing its commitment to building a valuable brand beyond functional differences.

Serenity Kids secures $52M
Serenity Kids, a leading shelf-stable baby and toddler food brand, has secured a $52 million Series B investment round led by Stride Consumer Partners to boost its growth, retail distribution and innovation efforts. Founded in 2018, Serenity Kids has quickly become a top-selling brand with nutrient-dense products. The company plans to use the funding to expand its reach and offerings while maintaining its commitment to providing healthy options for children.

Cocoa-free funding
UK-based Nukoko secured $1.5 million in funding to expand its cocoa-free chocolate made from fava beans. The company aims to address cocoa supply deficits due to climate change and reduce carbon emissions associated with traditional chocolate production. Nukoko's innovative approach offers a sustainable, ethically sound and nutritious alternative with 90% fewer carbon emissions and 40% less sugar than regular chocolate.

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About the Author(s)

Gianna Rosenbach

Content Creator, CPG and Digital, New Hope Network

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