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Annual M & A events of overseas food and beverage industry in 2020: giant companies plough deep, start-up companies grow | foodplus · annual inventory


Statement: the content of this article is not a suggestion for secondary market stock investment. Please read it from the perspective of food and beverage venture capital and industry research.

[about foodplus · annual stocktaking] foodplus · annual stocktaking is a special article on the annual review of the food and beverage industry newly launched by foodplus. We sort out and screen out the most noteworthy events from the thousands of information in the industry in the past year, and conduct re listing, analysis and comments, so as to provide some inspiration and inspiration for entrepreneurs, investors and practitioners in the industry.


The series of articles on “2020 foodplus · annual review” will be divided into four parts, which will be reviewed and analyzed from four dimensions: global food and beverage IPO, domestic food and beverage investment and M & A, overseas food and beverage investment and M & A, and global food and beverage weathervane.


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By the foodplus team

Editor: turo

Curator: Sean


Last week, we released “2020 domestic food and beverage industry annual investment and M & A events: both the spring of entrepreneurship and investment”, which reviewed and counted more than 40 domestic investment and financing & M & A events in 2020.


Foodplus’s focus on M & A in the food industry has never been limited to China. It’s also something we started to do at the beginning of our establishment to focus on and analyze capital events in the global food industry, which has been going on until now.


In 2018, we published the global food and consumer goods investment and financing insight: what categories of capital have been invested in in the past year, and what types of start-ups are favored? |Foodplus insight, which collected and collated the investment and financing data of food consumer goods companies in the global primary market from January 2017 to March 2018 for a total of 15 months (covering the global investment and financing events in the field of food consumer goods 1, 254 cases, involving investment and financing amount of about 7.09 billion US dollars). Through the analysis and carding of investment and financing events, we can catch the trend from the perspective of hot categories, representative start-up companies and products: which categories are being sought after by capital? What kind of food consumer goods companies are behind these popular categories, and what trends do they reflect and reveal?


Over the past three years, we have been continuously paying attention to, analyzing and inputting and outputting the investment and M & A of the global food industry through the columns of foodplus · weekly, foodplus · insights and feii community.


On the whole, the market represented by the United States and Europe is in a more mature stage in the investment and M & A of the food consumer goods industry, which is reflected in more relevant investment and financing cases, higher investment and financing amount, and more institutions and players participating in these investment and M & A, not only giants and industry companies frequently participate in the investment, incubation, M & A, but also a number of enterprises These institutions focus on food investment for a long time.


The maturity of this kind of investment and M & A end is also transmitted and reflected in the entrepreneurial end. On the whole, European and American food consumer goods entrepreneurship presents more diversified, more complex and more abundant characteristics in track selection, product shaping, category innovation and other dimensions. Of course, this overall “prosperity” is closely related to the development of the capital practitioners consumer market.


As an industry researcher and analyst based on China and looking around the world, we have undoubtedly captured more foresight and possibilities in overseas M & A — new categories, products, scenes, and more innovations. Many of them are first noticed in the M & a market in Europe and America. And this kind of innovation, in the form of wind vane, inspiration and benchmark, has more or less affected the domestic food entrepreneurship and investment.


Of course, in recent years, with the continuous improvement and rapid development of the domestic food venture capital industry, we also pay attention to some food innovations and new categories originated in China. However, excellent overseas investment and M & A cases continue to provide inspiration and insight for us in different dimensions such as grasping the industry trend, innovative thinking, and industry pattern changes.


In the 37 issues of foodplus · weekly in 2020, we recorded and analyzed hundreds of investment, financing and M & A events. After screening and discussion by the foodplus research and analysis team, we selected the following overseas food investment and M & A events worthy of attention in 2020. For the convenience of reading, we have integrated the information of the same main company with multiple financing in 2020 handle.

click on the picture to see the big picture

Next, we will make an inventory of these annual M & A events worthy of attention in the overseas food consumer goods market in 2020 in the chronological order of time disclosure.

1. Memphis meats, a cell culture and artificial meat company, received $160 million in round B financing

Founding team of Memphis meats, source: Memphis meats website


On January 22, 2020, Memphis meats, a well-known U.S. cell culture and artificial meat enterprise, completed a $160 million round B financing, which was led by Softbank. Other investors include northwest, Temasek, Cargill, Tyson, billionaire Richard Branson, Bill Gates, future ventures, CPT capital, etc. Memphis meats said at that time that the fund would focus on the construction of the pilot plant. This investment has so far maintained the largest amount of financing for the global cell culture and artificial meat enterprises.


It is worth noting that investors in this round include traditional meat giants such as Cargill and Tyson. Meat giants explore the possibility of new supply chain and consolidate their market position by investing in artificial meat start-ups. Artificial meat start-ups urgently need the capital, factories, supply chain, channels and other resources of meat giants. Such a combination has been more common at home and abroad. For example, perfect day, an alternative protein company, has established partnerships with ADM, and eat just, a plant mayonnaise and cell meat company, has established partnerships with a number of companies around the world.


Memphis meats was established in San Francisco, USA in 2015. Its core technology is to use stem cells extracted from animals to produce meat products through fermentation technology and cell culture device. At present, the types of animal meat covered by Memphis meats include beef, chicken and duck, and the product forms include whole cut meat and broken meat. After this round of financing, Memphis meats received a total financing amount of US $180 million.


With the regulation and technology reaching a certain window period, in 2020, the overall investment and financing status of cell culture alternative protein and microbial fermentation alternative protein categories is quite the same as before the outbreak of plant-based artificial meat a few years ago. In addition to Memphis meats, we can also see many cases in which cell culture alternative protein or microbial fermentation alternative protein companies have received huge financing.


At present, before the large-scale promotion of cell culture artificial meat, there are two problems to be solved, one is the cost of large-scale production, the other is the food safety audit of regulatory agencies.


We have seen gratifying progress in terms of cost. As one of the most commercialized cell culture meat companies on the cost side, Memphis meats had a production cost of US $20000 / kg in the early days of its establishment, which dropped to US $5280 / kg in 2017 and about US $2200 / kg in 2018. A spokesman for Memphis meats had previously said that the cost would be reduced to commercial level by 2021.


In terms of regulation, we also see a huge breakthrough in 2020. At the end of 2020, the Singapore government passed the regulatory audit of East just’s cell culture chicken, which has conveyed great confidence to the global cell culture meat industry. In the United States, as early as 2019, Memphis and other cell culture meat industries such as eat just, fork & Goode, bluenalu and finless foods established an organization called the Alliance for meat, pork & Seafood innovation (meat innovation alliance) to cooperate in market education and government regulatory promotion. Over the past two years, they are working with USDA and FDA to promote the implementation of regulatory policies on cell culture meat, so as to promote the market of cell culture meat.


For example, as we introduced in “2020 domestic food and beverage industry annual M & a event: both the spring of entrepreneurship and the spring of investment”, China’s cell culture meat industry will also take root in 2020, and when the regulatory policies of the United States for cell culture meat are also implemented, it is bound to transmit great energy to China and greatly promote the investment of cell culture meat in China This is a leap forward in the dimensions of capital, entrepreneurship, market and supervision.


The alternative protein / artificial meat industry has been the focus of foodplus since its establishment. We also believe that this industry will make historic breakthroughs in more aspects in 2021.


At this historical node, as an industry observer, we also want to do our best to promote the growth and exchange of this market. Recently, we released a report of China’s artificial meat track insight meeting: “does artificial meat have a future in China, and what kind of future? 》Then, we invited six distinguished guests from the artificial meat industry to participate in our feii venture vane seminar to explore the prospects of venture capital and investment in China’s artificial meat market in 2021.



2. Pepsi’s $3.85 billion acquisition of Rockstar energy beverages

Rockstar products, source: Rockstar website


On March 11, 2020, PepsiCo officially announced that it has reached a new deal agreement to purchase Rockstar energy beverages (hereinafter referred to as “Rockstar”) which is a well-known energy beverage manufacturer in North America, with a transaction price of US $3.85 billion. According to the approval process of relevant regulators, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020. This is another big acquisition of PepsiCo in 2020, following the announcement of acquisition of baicaowei in February 2020 (for details about the acquisition of baicaowei, please click this link to review).


Rockstar was founded in 2001. Its drinks are specially designed for “people living an active lifestyle” from athletes to rock stars. It focuses on the concept of low calorie, sugar free and organic. It also produces products containing fruit juice. Rockstar products offer more than 20 flavors in convenience stores and stores in more than 30 countries and regions.


In the early days of the company, Rockstar was known as the best substitute for red bull, with larger capacity and more tastes. From 2001 to 2007, the average growth rate of the company’s revenue reached 103%, which was US $405 million in 2007. However, in the following seven years, the company’s growth rate gradually dropped to single digits, with revenue of $670 million in 2013. According to the data provided by foreign media caffeine information, the company is still the top three energy beverage brands, but its sales growth in North America has been negative.


In terms of channels, in addition to Amazon, Wal Mart, 7-11 and other large retailers, the company mainly cooperates with well-known CpG enterprises to achieve distribution. As mentioned above, since 2009, the distribution of Rockstar in the North American market has been completed by PepsiCo. Before that, the company was cooperating with Coca Cola, but because Coca Cola had been trying to develop energy drinks containing vitamins, which made Weiner, the founder of Rockstar, dissatisfied, and finally terminated the agreement in 2009.


In the UK and Scotland markets, distribution is achieved through cooperation with Ag Barr. AG Barr is a Scottish based consumer goods company with brands like IRN bru, Rubicon and Strathmore. It employs more than 900 people in 10 regions of the UK and has a turnover of about 280 million pounds in 2017.


In fact, PepsiCo and Rockstar have established a cooperative relationship as early as 2009. PepsiCo is the distributor of Rockstar in North America. Before that, Coca Cola, the direct competitor of PepsiCo, was the distributor of Rockstar. In addition to Rockstar, PepsiCo’s layout in the field of energy drinks also includes Mountain Dew, which was acquired in 1964. At present, the brand also includes three sub brands: kickstart, AMP and amp game fuel.


The acquisition of Rockstar will not only improve the weak situation of existing brands in the energy beverage market, but also break the restrictions of the company in the energy beverage market. Hugh Johnston, PepsiCo’s chief financial officer, said the company’s distribution contract with Rockstar limited its innovation in energy drinks or cooperation with other companies. If the deal is completed, PepsiCo will be able to establish partnerships with other energy drink manufacturers.


To sum up, PepsiCo’s acquisition of Rockstar, on the one hand, caters to the development trend of energy beverage industry; on the other hand, it aims to improve its own weak situation in this field and expand the possibility of foreign cooperation through acquisition.


With the acquisition of Rockstar, PepsiCo can also re engage in distribution cooperation with other brands in the field of energy drinks, which provides potential opportunities for PepsiCo to expand its influence in this field and even invest in the acquisition of other energy brands.


Overall, Pepsi’s acquisition not only gains a competitive brand and products, but also has the opportunity to help Rockstar play a greater role in energy through Pepsi’s empowerment. At the same time, it also opens a window for cooperation with other energy drinks. We think that PepsiCo (including Rockstar) has some difficulties in surpassing Red Bull and monster in the short term, but we believe that it has an opportunity to narrow the gap between them.



3. Nestle plans to acquire a majority stake in vital proteins, a collagen manufacturer, to continue expanding its health science business

Nestle acquires vital proteins, photo source: Nestle press release

On June 10, 2020, Nestle’s health science company announced its intention to acquire a majority stake in vital proteins. According to Nestle’s official description, vital proteins is “the leading collagen brand in the United States”, as well as a lifestyle and health platform providing supplements, drinks and food.


After the acquisition, vital proteins will continue to operate independently and become a part of Nestle’s health science product portfolio. With the help of Nestle’s various resources, vital proteins will realize continuous product innovation and market expansion.


Vital proteins was founded by Kurt Seidensticker in 2013. Seidensticker was a former NASA engineer. In 2012, after reading medical journals and learning about the functionality of collagen, Seidensticker and his daughter, who studied medicine, conducted more in-depth scientific research on collagen, thus opening the way for vital proteins to start a business. Regarding the benefits of collagen, Nestle explained in this acquisition announcement:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for nearly 30% of the total body protein and 70% of the skin protein. It is a key component of connective tissue and supports the health of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints. Collagen production in the human body begins to decline around the age of 25, so it is necessary to supplement collagen for health and longevity.


After seven years of development, vital proteins has entered 35000 retail stores in North America and Europe, covering chain supermarkets, pharmacies or stores such as whole foods, Costco, target, Walgreens and Kroger, providing about 150 SKUs. Vital proteins products are based on collagen, providing powder, beverage, capsule and stick. At the same time, some products will enrich their taste by adding Matcha and coconut powder, and also combine with other ingredients such as magnesium glycine and theanine to enhance their specific functionality.


Take collagen powder, which represents the original flavor of the product, as an example. Its selling price on the company’s official website is $15 / 5oz. Its collagen material comes from grass fed cattle in organic pasture, and does not contain gluten, dairy products and added sugar.


According to the report released by spins, a data service company focusing on the health field, the collagen field has achieved certain development since 2016 due to the promotion of vital proteins and many competing companies. According to the data forecast of grand view research, the global collagen market is expected to reach US $6.6 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 6.5%. If Nestle can successfully complete the acquisition, it will fit the trend and expand the business scope of health science company.


Nestle Health Sciences, founded in 2011, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestle group. Its business focuses on consumer services (including nutrition, vitamins, over-the-counter drugs, etc.) and medical nutrition (including special medical food). At present, it has many brands of vitamins, minerals, supplements and health products, including atrium innovations, garden of life and pure Each brand has its own unique expertise and focus areas. The total sales revenue of the business line and infant nutrition business in 2019 is 14.99 billion Swiss francs (about 110.9 billion RMB).

Brand of nutrition and health science business line, photo source: Nestle’s 2019 annual report


The acquisition of vital Proteins is the third transaction of Nestle Health Sciences in 2020. On January 27, Nestle Health Sciences acquired “zenprep”, a product for specific diseases and nutritional treatment under Allergan, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. On February 5, Nestle Health Sciences announced that it would sell zenprep, a biological product headquartered in California, USA Aimmune therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company, has increased its capital by US $200 million (so far, the total investment has reached US $473 million, with a shareholding ratio of 25.6%).



4. Improbable foods, an American Meat star company, has successively obtained US $500 million f round financing and US $200 million g round financing, with a current valuation of US $4 billion.
improbable foods product promotion. Photo source: improbable foods official website

According to the news released by nosh on March 16, 2020, American Meat star company impossible Foods announced that it has completed the f-round financing of US $500 million. This round is followed by mirae Asset Global Investment, horizons ventures, Temasek Holdings, Khosla labs and other investors who have participated in previous rounds of investment, as well as Jay-Z and tennis player Serena Williams and other four stars voted with each other. Improbable foods plans to use the financing to: 1) deal with the negative impact of the new coronavirus; 2) develop new products including sausages and pork; 3) expand its retail business to the global international market to inject vitality into its business growth.


By the end of this round of financing, the total amount of financing of this star company has reached nearly US $1.3 billion. We analyzed the last round of financing of impossible foods in a weekly in May 2019. According to Reuters, the company is currently valued at about $3 billion.


In August after that, according to fooddive, impossible foods completed a $200 million g round of financing. This round of financing was led by the new investor coatue, and participated by Temasek, future assets and xn. Impossible foods plans to use this round of financing funds to expand R & D and production scale; support the development of retail business; in addition, it will develop pig, milk, steak and other plant products, as well as the corresponding commercialization.


As of the end of this round of financing, the company has completed a total of US $1.5 billion financing since its establishment in 2011, and the company’s current valuation is US $4 billion. It is worth noting that the new investors, coat and xn, are hedge funds in the US technology sector. Does this mean that impossible foods may be ready to go public?


It has been eight years since the establishment of impossible foods. In 2016, the company launched its first artificial meat hamburger, mainly through catering channels. After entering the public catering channels such as Burger King, invisible foods has entered a high-speed growth stage. At present, its core products such as invisible burgers have laid 1800 catering channels, and the output of Auckland production plant has increased three times.


When people talk about impossible foods, they often compare it with beyond meat, another star company of plant meat. The advantage of beyond meat is that its commercialization process is the fastest, and its catering and retail channels go hand in hand. When impossible foods focuses on catering channels, beyond meat has been listed on NASDAQ. The advantage of improbable foods is that it attaches importance to R & D and development of scientific research technology, and makes use of R & D foundation to make it have the ability of continuous commercialization.


Last year, impossible foods completed the establishment of 7000 catering stores in the first half of the year. This year, under the influence of the epidemic and the channel strategy of catering before retail, it accelerated the development of retail channels. Since July, implosible foods’ plant burgers have been on sale in 2100 Wal Mart Supermarkets. In August, they successively entered publix and Kroger channels. On August 26, according to the latest news, impossible foods launched $6.99 impossible foods patties in nearly 2000 grocery stores owned by the Kroger Co. with 8-ounce specifications and two pre formed quarter pound (4-ounce) specifications, which were displayed in Kroger’s fresh meat area, and supported consumers to order online. As a result, in September 2019, there were only 150 retail channels of impossible foods, and now it has been sold in nearly 10000 retail terminals nationwide.


For the purpose of financing this time, we focus on the intention of invisible foods to enter pork, milk, steak and other fields, and there are many long-term focused brands in these markets. For example, Smithfield and Tyson are the producers of vegetable pork; Danone, silk and oatly are the producers of vegetable milk. In these markets, as a latecomer, what kind of product strategy and R & D technology will be adopted by impossible foods is our valuable focus.

5. Mycotechnology, an American food technology company, received $39 million in round D financing, while the investment platforms of Tyson food and Kellogg’s continued to increase

In June 2020, mycotechnology, an American food technology company, obtained US $39 million in round D financing. This round of financing is jointly led by Greenleaf foods, SPC, S2G ventures and evolution partners, and many institutions including Tyson food and Carrefour’s investment platform continue to participate in the investment. According to pitchbook, mycotechnology has completed four rounds of financing and obtained more than US $120 million, involving 25 investment institutions in total.

Basic financing information of mycotechnology, photo source: public information collation


Founded in 2013, mycotechnology is a start-up company dedicated to extracting and developing functional ingredients from vegetable plants (mainly mushrooms at present), aiming to enrich the supply of healthy, sustainable and high-quality food.

R & D process flow chart, photo source: mycotechnology website


Mycotechnology has two flagship products (ingredients), cleartaste and puretaste. According to the company’s official website and foreign media, cleartaste is the first organic bitter blocker and flavor clarifier in the world. It can effectively protect the tongue and temporarily prevent the bitter from being detected. In an independent third-party study, cleartaste was shown to block 17 of the 25 bitter receptors found on the tongue. At the same time, cleartaste can reduce the use of sugar and salt without changing the flavor.


Puretaste is a sustainable, functional, nutritious and flavorful plant protein. It is a special mixture of pea and rice protein, fermented by mushroom mycelium (root).


When many organizations talk about the reasons for investing in mycotechnology, most of them are optimistic about the company’s R & D direction and the functional value of existing products: cleartaste can reduce sugar and salt for food, which can better meet the current consumer’s demand for healthy and burden free ingredients, while puretaste is a high-value and sustainable plant protein, which can replace animal protein.

6. Nestle Purina acquires British pet food brand Lily’s kitchen to add natural organic pet food market


According to business news, on April 1, 2020, Nestle’s Purina has completed the acquisition of British high-end pet food brand Lily’s kitchen. Since then, Lily’s kitchen will continue to operate as an independent enterprise in the UK, while other details of the transaction have not been announced. Before this acquisition by Nestle Purina, Lily’s kitchen was invested by L catterton, an American private equity company, in August 2015.


Lily’s kitchen was founded in 2008 by Henrietta Morrison in London, UK. The company’s products cover dry food and wet food for cats and dogs. Lily’s kitchen aims to provide a healthier diet for pets through natural, organic, grain free and balanced ingredients and fresh vegetables. It is worth mentioning that Lily’s kitchen is the first restaurant in the world to provide catering service for cats and dogs.

Lily’s kitchen’s restaurant, image source: Google


At present, Lily’s kitchen’s business has covered 6000 pet stores in 30 countries / regions around the world. Recently, it has also expanded to the Middle East and Asian markets, and is loved by young pet owners all over the world.


In response to the acquisition, Bernard Meunier, CEO of Nestle prena pet care, said “Lily’s kitchen’s product line perfectly complements Purina’s existing brand portfolio.”. At the same time, we believe that the addition of Lily’s kitchen also brings the following two values to Purina.


On the one hand, Lily’s kitchen can expand its market share in the fast-growing segment for Purina. Lily’s kitchen’s natural organic pet food is a fast-growing segment of pet food market in recent years. According to the data of Research Institute technavio, during 2017-2021, the global organic pet food market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.08%, while the average annual growth rate of the global pet food market in the past 10 years is 5.5%.


Lily’s kitchen, on the other hand, can enhance Purina’s influence in the global mainstream pet market. Bernard Meunier said in an interview with Reuters that in the UK, Purina’s influence in the high-end market is relatively limited. However, the UK is the second largest pet food consumer market in the world only compared with the United States. The acquisition of Lily’s kitchen can enhance Nestle Purina’s influence in the UK market to a certain extent.


This is also one of Nestle’s few mergers and acquisitions in the pet field in recent years. In order to promote the innovation of pet food, Nestle invested in the personalized pet food subscription brand . From the whole global market, fresh food is setting off a new wave, especially fresh food based on personalized subscription. Nestle will continue to purchase in the future in order to enhance the brand portfolio of pet food.

7. Perfect day, an American Dairy Company with “no animal source”, has received US $160 million in round C additional investment

Perfect day products, image source: Google


According to fooddive, in July 2020, perfect day, an American “animal free” dairy company, received US $160 million in round C additional investment, which was led by the Canadian pension plan investment committee. This investment made the total financing of round C reach US $300 million. Earlier in December 2019, perfect day received a $140 million round C investment led by Temasek.


Perfect day is a food technology company that has received much attention in recent years. It mainly uses bioengineering yeast to produce milk protein. This is a production process that adds bovine DNA to yeast cells. The culture process is carried out in the laboratory. Finally, the synthesized yeast cells are mixed with fatty acids and water to produce milk.


In recent years, the concepts of healthy diet, environmental protection and animal welfare have become popular in the food and beverage industry, and this year’s epidemic has further amplified this trend. According to Kearney’s data this year, 11% of consumers said that the basis of their current purchase decision has shifted to whether the product is “environmentally friendly”, and 83% said that the “environmentally friendly” label will be included in the purchase decision. According to WWF data, there are about 270 million cows in the world, which produce a lot of greenhouse gases every year.


Based on fermented milk protein, perfect day perfectly follows the trend of the above concepts, and forms a difference with the already “everywhere” plant-based milk — the absorption rate of plant protein is lower than that of animal protein, which is a disadvantage that plant protein is difficult to eliminate. The investment of the Canadian pension plan investment committee has made a strong endorsement for the “environmental protection” of perfect day, which is the first investment of their “climate change portfolio”.


In the past few months before financing, perfect day doubled its production capacity and significantly reduced production costs; launched an ice cream product jointly with ice cream brand smitten; in addition, its artificial whey protein also obtained the safety index (GRAS) certification of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These breakthroughs have attracted additional investment from new and old shareholders, and the scene of 2B has undoubtedly brought some commercial imagination for perfect day.

Perfect day has started the supply chain of raw materials and products, photo source: perfect day official website


As an alternative protein company adopting microbial fermentation process, perfect day is a pioneer in this field. At present, it has launched corresponding products and entered the market by tob. It has cooperated with ADM company in the product supply chain, and many ice cream enterprises have adopted perfect day Day’s alternative milk products are used as raw materials, and ice cream products have been officially put on the market.


With the continuous improvement of production capacity, continuous reduction of cost and more extensive and diversified application of raw materials, perfect day is an emerging alternative dairy company in the future, reshaping the existing dairy supply chain.


8. Oatly, a Swedish plant based milk substitute brand, has completed a new round of financing of US $200 million. The investors include Blackstone capital and a series of star investors, with a valuation of US $2 billion


In July 2020, BBC, blog and other foreign media reported that oatly, a Swedish plant based milk substitute brand, had received US $200 million investment. This round of financing is led by Blackstone growth, a well-known organization, and the follow-up investment includes a group of stars and celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, the famous American host, Natalie Portman, Jay-Z, and Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks.


According to people who did not want to be named, the shares sold account for about 10% of the company’s shares, which means that oatly is valued at about $2 billion after this round of investment.


According to the statistics of CrunchBase, oatly began to complete three rounds of financing in 2018. The last round of financing was at the end of October 2019, with a financing amount of US $41.4 million. The Wall Street Journal reported that oatly’s financing is likely to prepare for IPO or acquisition.

Oatly historical financing statistics, source: CrunchBase


According to the BBC, the financing will be used by oatly to continue to expand its current major markets – Europe, the United States and Asia. At present, oatly’s products have entered more than 50000 retail outlets in 20 countries around the world.


At present, oatly, which started with oat milk, is also expanding its product form and scene. The current product lines include oatdrink (oatmeal beverage), small packaging product line for outdoor on the go scenes, yogurt product line oatcourt, cooking product line (including oatmeal based plant-based cream, daub sauce, etc.), and oatmeal based plant-based yogurt product line.

Oatly: the cooking product line for cooking scenes, source: oatly official website


It can be seen that oatly is expanding its products around the main categories of traditional dairy products, trying to cover the market and scene of traditional milk, yogurt, ice cream and other categories through the gradually established concept of oat milk substitute.


In 2019, oatly achieved a sales revenue of US $200 million and achieved a three-digit annual growth rate for three consecutive years. The company also announced plans to generate $400 million in revenue by 2021.


Oatly is a company founded in 1990. The rapid development of its business and its global attention are more things in the past few years. This is closely related to the global trend of plant base, especially the trend of plant alternative protein. In this trend, oat milk has gradually developed into a star category.


In oat milk and even the whole plant-based milk market, oatly is also a company with certain characteristics and advantages in brand value proposition, supply chain & Channel fundamentals, marketing strategy & consumer interaction. On the basis of further improving its business fundamentals and market expansion, we are also looking forward to the emergence of beyond meat in the field of plant based milk.


To learn more about oatly’s strategy and thinking, especially the brand’s play and development in the Chinese market in the past, you can read the interview with Herbert, brand director of oatly in China: why is oat milk popular? | FoodPlus Interview》。

9. Vive organic, an American start-up company of concentrated functional drinks, has completed round B financing of US $13 million. The market of concentrated functional drinks deserves further attention


In July 2020, according to a recent report by food business news, vive organic, an American energy drink startup, has completed a $13 million round B financing. This round of financing was led by Monogram capital and participated by Cambridge SPG and powerplant ventures. Vive organic plans to use the financing funds for online promotion, product innovation and expanding the plant-based functional beverage business nationwide.


Vive organic was founded in 2015, and its products are concentrated energy drinks (shots) with various functions. In addition to the main immunity enhancement function, it also includes antioxidant, energy enhancement and other function points.

Products of vive organic, source: Official Website of vive organic


Concentrated functional beverage is a kind of functional food in American market. Among them, the sales volume of 5 hour energy, the leading brand of concentrated energy drinks, in the U.S. market in 2018 has been close to 1 billion US dollars, which is a very typical energy drink focusing on Sports scenes. In addition to simple and fast energy supplement, the product also uses non added sugar, low calorie and low carbon, rich in various trace elements to strengthen the health characteristics of the product. The sales volume of Red Bull, the energy drink giant, in the United States in 2018 was US $2.89 billion, and 5 hour energy has reached one third of Red Bull’s scale.


In addition, from the perspective of category development, the product innovation of many traditional beverage categories based on concentrated beverage development this year includes the thinking of functional scenarios, and “concentration” is also “functionalization”. It also shows that concentrated functional drinks are promoting the category boundary expansion of functional drinks.

The development of concentrated drinks has led to the expansion of category boundaries of functional drinks. Source: foodplus


When we pay attention to vive organic in 2019, we have noticed this entrepreneurial brand with relatively strong growth. At that time, the brand’s products had entered more than 1400 terminals in the United States, including whole foods, and its revenue growth was amazing. According to the company, the revenue increased 8 times in 2016-2017 and 5 times in 2017-2018.


From the perspective of product, vive organic emphasizes the characteristics of sugar free addition, plant-based, organic, non transgenic and so on. With the application of some super food elements, no matter the product function points, presentation means and labels, there are certain differences in the current concentrated functional beverage market.


On the whole, concentrated functional beverage is an extension of the traditional functional beverage market, but its breakthrough in product form, category convenience and functional value makes this category have more potential and imagination space. In such a track, through continuous product innovation, comprehensive and solid and differentiated play, it has the opportunity to create innovative brands with rapid growth .

10. Hunt, a natural flavor water brand, has won 25 million US dollars in round D investment

Hunt’s products, photo source: Foodbev


In August 2020, according to foreign media reports, the US natural flavor water brand “hint” completed a $25 million D round of financing, which was led by springboard growth capital (SGC). SGC is a long-term growth company focusing on investing in the consumption field founded by women entrepreneurs. Other investors include Philippe LAFONT, gingerbread capital and Medina heights Capital Partners. Hunt plans to use this round of financing funds to promote the continuous growth of online channels and online retail.


Founded in 2005 by the founder Kara Goldin, hint focuses on natural, sugar free and flavorless aquatic products, advocating a healthy lifestyle. Currently, hunt has four product lines, including bubble free flavor water, bubble flavor water, caffeine energy water and flavor water specially designed for children, with 31 SKUs. Among them, non bubble flavor water has 18 kinds of rich flavors including pineapple, peach, cherry, etc. Since 17 years ago, hunt has further enriched its product matrix and expanded its new product categories, including deodorant, sunscreen, mask and other food and beverage products.


Since 2015, hint’s total revenue has reached 150 million US dollars. In the past year, hint’s annual revenue has increased by 80% year on year. At present, it has covered more than 30000 offline retail terminals in the United States, including target, Costco, Walmart and Aldi.


11. Solar foods, an air protein company, received 18.5 million euros in round a financing

Product schematic diagram of solar foods, photo source: solar foods official website


In September 2020, according to foodnavigator, solar foods, a Finnish food technology company, announced the completion of a round of financing of 18.5 million euros, of which 15 million euros was invested by fazer group, Finland’s largest food company. The remaining investors include bridford investments, agromics limited, lifeline ventures and CPT capital. Solar Foods announced that the financing will be used for the construction of new production facilities, which are expected to start production in 2022.


The core technology of solar foods is to use electricity, carbon dioxide and water to produce protein, which they named solein. Solar foods is not the only company to use this “air based” protein production technology. There is also a company called air protein in Berkeley in the United States developing this technology.


At present, these “air based” protein companies use microbial fermentation to produce protein with air as raw material. This technology does not need harsh soil and climate conditions like animal and plant culture, and does not occupy land (relatively speaking). It is a more sustainable protein production method than plant base. If it can be commercialized and standardized on the premise of ensuring the abundance of amino acids in protein, it will be of great significance to the sustainable development of food.

12. Notco, a plant-based brand, has completed US $85 million round C financing, and its sales volume will increase six times in 2020

Notco founding team and products, photo source: notco LinkedIn


On September 9, 2020, notco, a food technology company founded in 2015 and headquartered in Santiago, Chile, announced the completion of US $85 million round C financing. The leading investors in this round of financing are future positive capital and l catterton, and the following investors are kaszek ventures, the craft, Bezos expedition, general catalyst, endeavor catalyst, indie bio, Humbolt capital and Maya Capital, etc.


The financing was obtained when the company announced to expand its business scale and expand to the U.S. market. After the financing, founder and CEO Muchnick disclosed that the company’s sales volume in 2020 was six times that of the same period in 2019. Notchco is the second venture by Muchnick, which founded Eggless, a company that sells plant-based condiments and mayonnaise.


Notco’s main product currently is plant-based mayonnaise. Eight months after its launch in Chile, notco quickly gained 10% of the market share, ranking in the top three of the market (Chile is the third largest mayonnaise market in the world, with Kraft and Hellmann’s in the top two). Then in 2019, it launched plant milk, plant ice cream and plant meat products in cooperation with Burger King. This year, we also work with Papa John’s (the fourth largest pizza chain in the United States) on meat substitutes, and plan to launch them in more than 100 restaurants of Papa John’s in Chile.


Notco initially defined itself as a food technology company rather than a brand company. Pichara and Zamora, two other founders of Giuseppe, have developed a machine learning software called Giuseppe, which was originally planned to be used in the cooperation of food companies in product development. “Giuseppe” can search for the relationship between different animal and plant protein molecules, and find special plant formula that can reproduce the flavor, texture and color of traditional food. There are seven different parts involved in this work, including molecular data describing food and ingredients, spectral imaging of food and ingredients, and a series of data collected by taste testers, such as taste, texture, aftertaste, acidity and so on. Muchnick claims that it has stored the structural maps of 7000 plant Aminoacetic acids in seven databases.

Not Mayo mayonnaise, product, packaging, nutrition table, photo source: businesswire, notco official website, drawing: foodplus research and analysis team


The essence of notco’s core technology is to use machine learning technology (Artificial Intelligence) to improve the efficiency of product development. The three founders applied it to the field of plant replacing traditional meat, and the value they created was the sustainability of food. We note that on March 31 this year, notco adjusted its business model, closed its mayonnaise production plant in Santiago, Chile, and outsourced all its production, while focusing on product development and sales.


However, from the perspective of its technical characteristics, this kind of product produced through “artificial intelligence + synthetic biology” is a bigger “black box” for consumers. Theoretically, this kind of characteristic will increase consumers’ dependence on brands. Of course, if notco focuses on product development, there is nothing wrong with it. However, as a food brand, it is worth observing whether it is a better business model to involve too many product categories in the growth period and to divest factories. Furthermore, from the perspective of product positioning, is this product synthesized through plant formula still “mayonnaise”, “yogurt” or “ice cream” in the minds of consumers? Theoretically speaking, this technology can synthesize all kinds of food with desired flavor and texture. What kind of food should the created food belong to? What’s your name?


Even with such doubt, it can not stop the rapid development of plant-based market. Notco’s products have entered the markets of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the United States. Moreover, the demand for meat food continues to expand, and the environmental burden caused by animal feeding is a relatively certain problem in front of human development. In fact, this leaves us a question worthy of consideration. Human beings urgently need to improve the efficiency of food production. Is “artificial intelligence + synthetic biology” the key to solving the infinite pursuit of “better food”?

13. Cell meat company Mosa meat successively obtained 55 million US dollars in round B financing and 20 million US dollars in round B-2 financing


On September 25, 2020, Mosa meat, a Dutch cell meat company, announced the completion of round B financing of US $55 million, led by blue horizon ventures, a venture capital fund focusing on investing in food technology companies and promoting the development of more sustainable food. Meanwhile, Dr Regina Hecker, a partner of the fund, will join the board of directors of Mosa meat.


One of the purposes of this financing is to expand the team, which is a top priority for Mosa meat. Today, the company employs 50 people and plans to more than double its size. “We’re going to look for scientists, engineers, production operators, and we’re going to go further along this path, and we’re going to build a sales team,” said Sarah Lucas, the company’s director of operations


In addition to expanding the team, another use of the funds will be for the development of industrial production lines. It is reported that the first pilot plant will start operation in 2021. Meanwhile, in 2022, the first industrial production line will start, and the company plans to open its first large-scale production plant by 2025. “It is predicted that a fully optimized industrial production line will produce about 200 tons a year,” said Sarah Lucas.


In December 2020, Mosa meat, a Dutch cell culture and artificial meat company, announced the completion of round B-2 financing, raising about US $20 million, with a cumulative round B financing amount of US $75 million. This round of investors is also led by blue horizon ventures, the leading investor in round B. other investors include Mitsubishi and private equity companies in Japan, target global, arctern ventures and Rubio impact ventures.


Mosa meat said that this round of financing will be used to expand its existing pilot production facilities in Maastricht, the Netherlands, develop industrial scale production lines, expand the team, and strengthen the market education of cell culture beef.


Among more than 50 cell culture artificial meat companies in the world, Mosa meat claims to be the first to develop cell culture meat products. As early as 2013, Mosa meat produced the world’s first artificial beef patty directly cultured from bovine cells in the laboratory of Maastricht University. The research cost 250000 euro, which is not cheap. According to data released by Mosa meat this summer, the cost has been reduced by 88 times, but it is still a long way from large-scale commercial use.

14. Functional bottled water brand oxigen completes us $15 million round B financing

Photo source: oxigen beverages (USA) Inc


In October 2020, according to foodbusiness news, the functional bottled water brand oxigen completed a $15 million b round of financing. The investors in this round include the famous country music singer Brett Eldridge, NBA Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin love, etc. Not long ago, in August, NBA Golden State Warriors star Stephen curry also became an investor in oxigen and served as a board consultant.


Oxigen was founded in 2014 by Blair Bentham. Since its inception six years ago, the company has grown by 300% to 400%. At present, oxigen has entered about 47000 offline terminal channels in the US market, including CVs, Kroger and other large retailers. According to founder and CEO Blair Bentham, the funds raised in this round will be mainly used for marketing, advertising and expanding the circulation of products in the United States.


Oxigen’s core product is a functional bottled water. Its main feature is to balance the pH of the water by adding electrolytes, and inject more oxygen to increase the benefits to the body and enhance the body’s recovery ability. According to the introduction of oxigen’s official website, oxigen water is rich in oxygen 5 times that of ordinary bottled water and 175mg electrolyte, and its pH value can reach 7.2-7.4, which is weak alkaline. In addition, oxigen also emphasizes that the bottles used are 100% renewable materials.


Similarly, Nongfu mountain spring also describes the value of water pH on its official website, which highlights the advantages of Nongfu mountain spring weak alkaline water

The pH of water is determined by the minerals dissolved in it. Natural water often contains potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, metasilicic acid and other minerals, mostly weakly alkaline. Water without these minerals tends to be acidic. Therefore, by testing the pH of water, we can directly judge whether the water contains natural minerals.


With the mainstream market at home and abroad, the bottled water business pattern is relatively stable, and the future functionality and high-end may become an important driving factor for the growth of the industry. According to the forecast of technavio analysts, the annual growth rate of global functional water market will be close to 9% from 2018 to 2022. In addition, giant companies in the field of food and consumer goods at home and abroad are gradually optimizing the structure of bottled water business and product entrepreneurship to achieve growth in recent years. For example, in December 2019, Nestle announced that it would launch “Nestl é pure life plus”, which will launch functional water containing magnesium, zinc and potassium for the first time. In August 2020, Nestle stripped off the low-end product lines of “Nestle Youhuo” and local brand “Dashan” in the Chinese market, thus focusing on the high-end water market. Pepsi Cola, on the other hand, recently launched “drivewell”, a functional water designed to fight stress and induce relaxation.  



15. Australian plant meat brand v2food gets $77 million in round B financing

Two current products of v2food


In October 2020, v2food, an Australian plant meat brand, completed round B financing of 77 million US dollars, with an estimated value of 230 million US dollars. Investors include Temasek, ABC World Asia, altitude partners, Novell investments, etc. it is worth noting that investors in this round also include Chinese food production and distributor Shanghai Yihe agricultural products.


Earlier in November 2019, v2food completed a $35 million round a financing, including Sequoia China.


V2food was founded in 2019 by CSIRO, founder of Henry Jack and competitive foods Australia.


At present, v2food has two product lines: minced meat and hamburger patty. In terms of channels, both catering and retail channels have been developed. The catering channels include the Australian fast food chain giant Henry Jack and Burger King of New Zealand. V2food is on sale in more than 600 retail outlets, including Woolworth, the largest supermarket chain in Australia.


In this round of investment, Yihe agricultural products announced that it plans to participate in the investment of US $349792.29, accounting for 0.15% of the equity of v2food after the completion of this round of financing. It plans to introduce v2food products into the Chinese market this year, with catering enterprises as the initial sales target, and tries to expand its sales in the Chinese market by referring to the retail mode of Australian supermarkets.


Entering the Chinese market as another multinational company of meat making also means that the limited market scale of plant meat market will further intensify the competitive environment. On the other hand, it is also conducive to the popularization and rapid development of China’s plant meat market.



16. Nestle acquired freshly, an American fresh food distribution company, with us $950 million and US $550 million to increase investment in frozen food business

Nestle website announces acquisition of freshly


Nestle announced on October 30, 2020 that it has signed an agreement with freshly, the us fresh food distribution company, to purchase freshly for us $950 million. In addition, if freshly continues to have excellent development in the future, Nestle will pay an additional US $550 million.


Freshly was founded in 2012, and its business was officially launched to the market in 2015. It mainly focuses on high-quality nutritious meals cooked by chefs and delivered in the United States through online subscription. Before the acquisition with Nestle, freshly completed a total of five rounds of financing, in which Nestle participated in the C round of financing of freshly in 2017, and Nestle accounted for 16% of the shares after this round of investment. At that time, Nestle declared that it was a strategic move to evaluate and test emerging markets.


After more than three years of development, Nestle has wholly acquired freshly, which also means that freshly’s business and model have been verified in the U.S. market. According to Nestle’s news release, freshly currently delivers more than 1 million meals a week to users in 48 states of the United States, and it is expected to achieve US $430 million by 2020. If Nestle finally buys it at US $1.5 billion, it will be almost 3.5 times PS.


Unlike blue apron, a listed food distribution company in the United States, the cooked food provided by freshly is not allowed to be cooked and heated, while the fresh and semi-finished products provided by blue apron need simple cooking. The development of the epidemic in the world has accelerated the household food consumption market, and frozen food and soup products have been well promoted. Freshly provides distribution services and convenient meal solutions, which will also be beneficial to the development under the influence of the epidemic.


Back to Nestle’s business itself, as a diversified food giant, Nestle has a very good layout in many fields, such as coffee, infant food, drinking water, dairy products, pet food, meals, condiments, nutrition and health care products, and special medical food. Among them, frozen food is the main food category, and this business is also emphasized here.


We have previously written an insight article to systematically analyze the prepackaged food trend of catering, in which we mentioned the important consumption scenario of family meals. At that time, the article mentioned that Nestle’s market share of frozen food in the United States is the first, with a retail value of 7.4 billion US dollars. Nestle has nearly 10 frozen food brands in the U.S. market, including 4 frozen pizza brands, 5 main course food brands and 2 special frozen food brands.


The acquisition of freshly by Nestle can also be regarded as increasing investment in frozen food business. In addition, Nestle also increases investment in plant-based artificial meat products. Recently, it has set up a special plant-based R & D accelerator. Freshly is a sales network of DTC. Nestle’s layout in multiple food categories can cooperate with each other, and it can also share R & D resources to launch more flexibly Products needed by the market.

Freshly’s current subscription mode, photo source: freshly’s official website


At present, freshly adopts the pre subscription system. All products are refrigerated products with a shelf life of 4-5 days. There are more than 30 kinds of recipes available every week. With the acquisition of Nestle, freshly will enter into other types of channels and develop business types by using Nestle’s existing supply chain and channel resources.


At present, due to the epidemic situation in the global market, the family food market is attached great importance to. The convenience solution will gradually become an important choice in the family food market. We call it the prepackaged food of catering. This trend will affect the future market pattern of catering and prepackaged food, and we will continue to pay attention to this field.



17. Meati foods, a plant protein based on fungal mycelium, completed round a financing of US $28 million

Image source:


According to the news released by foodnavigator on October 30, 2020, meati foods, a fungus based plant protein start-up, has completed a financing of US $28 million. This round of financing is led by acre venture partners, invested by Prelude ventures, congruent ventures, Tao capital and other investment institutions, as well as John foreker, CEO of ontreme farm and Nicolas, co-founder of sweetgreen JAMMET, Jonathan Neman and others participated. This round of financing funds is mainly used to expand the team and purchase advanced production equipment.


Meati foods uses the mycelium of fungi as the core component to make plant meat products, which are made from mycelium and a few other all natural ingredients. This complete protein source is light processed and does not contain common allergens such as gluten and beans.


At present, the company’s main products are artificial chicken based on fermentation process, chicken’n series products based on fungal fermentation, which contain 6G fiber, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12 and other vitamins and minerals.


This product can be applied for trial eating on the official website. Previously, meati has received feedback from consumers after trying. Consumers rated its product chewy and tenacious, and they are willing to buy it alternately with those of impossible foods. Meati foods is expected to mass produce in 2021.

18. Nature’s fynd, an innovative US artificial protein food company, completed a new round of financing of US $45 million

Nature’s fynd products, photo source: nature’s fynd website


In December 2020, nature’s fynd, an American artificial protein brand, completed a new round of financing of US $45 million, with investors including Oxford Finance and Trinity capital. We have reported in previous articles that nature’s fynd completed round B financing led by generation investment management and breakthrough energy ventures in the first half of this year. At present, the total financing amount of nature’s fynd has reached 158 million US dollars.


Nature’s fynd is an American food technology company founded by Thomas Jonas in 2016. The core team of the company is from the microbial research group of Yellowstone National Park, once led by NASA. The company is headquartered in Chicago and has R & D centers in Bozeman and Montana. Recently, nature’s fynd has added several senior employees from ADM, Cargill and other companies to the team.


Nature’s fynd team is committed to the research and development of multi-purpose artificial protein and other sustainable bio food, aiming to provide environment-friendly food for the growing population under the pressure of climate change and realize the sustainable development of human and nature. It has received funding and material support from NASA, National Science Foundation, National Park Service, EPA, USDA, Montana and its state universities.


Nature’s fynd uses a kind of microorganism (named Fusarium strain Yellowstone ensis) found in the volcanic geothermal spring of Huangshi park to develop and produce artificial protein. Based on the existing breakthrough fermentation technology, nature’s fynd has developed the artificial protein named FY ™ It is rich in 9 essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. It can be used in the processing of artificial meat, artificial dairy products, protein powder and protein drinks.


This round of financing will also help nature’s fynd speed up the process of protein research and development, and the company plans to officially put its products on the market in 2021.


Recently, we published an insight article on nature’s fynd and microbial fermented protein Market in feii community, which has just been launched. Feii members can scan the following QR code to read, while non members need to read after joining members.

Identify the QR code and read article

19. Little spoon, an American organic infant food brand, received $22 million in financing

Little spoon complementary food products, photo source: little spoon official website


In December 2020, little spoon, an American infant food brand, recently received a $22 million investment led by valor equity partners, whose LP includes Starbucks and other CpG companies.


Little spoon was founded in New York in April 2017 by three mothers and a senior person with rich product management experience in the food and consumer goods industry. The company focuses on organic food for infants and young children, and sells it by door-to-door delivery. After registering on the official website and taking the test, you can see the recommended recipes. These recipes are made of organic fresh food. At present, there are more than 50 kinds of menus, which are composed of more than 80 kinds of food materials. Since its establishment, the total sales volume of products has reached more than 6 million copies in the past three years.


Little spoon has its own baby food production equipment and has strong control over the supply chain. In addition, on the product side, little spoon has a very rich product portfolio, including complementary food products such as organic fruit and vegetable puree and nutritional supplements such as probiotics and vitamins. It is particularly noteworthy that little spoon has launched a series of children’s meals.


For the growing demand for health in the U.S. market, little spoon well meets the market demand, providing healthy nutrition, safe and Organic Infant Food and children’s food for young parents.


In the development of little spoon, a parenting platform content community is this normal has been established, which has become a very core part of little spoon brand building. From the dimensions of products, services, supply chain construction and content community, little spoon has established a good growth and development platform, which is crucial for its long-term development. ©FoodPlus



The above is our reply to the noteworthy M & A events in the overseas food consumer goods market in 2020.


It can be seen that the capital market in the overseas food field, as always, favors food technology companies and start-ups with strong technological value. In the past year, we have not only seen large amount of financing in the field of cell culture and artificial meat, but also witnessed the financing of start-ups in the field of alternative protein. Of course, giants are still important participants in overseas food investment and M & A In addition, some excellent start-up brands in the segmentation field are still growing, attracting a lot of capital, among which functional drinks, plant-based drinks, infant food and other fields are worthy of continuous attention.


Next week, we will present the final chapter of the series of articles on food plus 2020 annual inventory – the annual events and wind vane of the global food and beverage industry in 2020. We will interpret the regular and judgmental trend from the representative events in the industry in 2020. Please look forward to it!

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