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Originally published on

Nestlé announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Terrafertil, a company selling natural, organic, plant-based foods and healthy snacks.

The move widens Nestlé’s presence in a fast-growing category in Latin America, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Terrafertil, and its flagship brand ‘NATURE’S HEART®’, is recognized for its wide portfolio of natural and mostly organic products. It is the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries (Physalis), an Andean superfood high in vitamins and antioxidants. The company was founded in 2005 in Ecuador by five entrepreneurs and is managed by three founding brothers, David, Raul and Daniel Bermeo. It quickly expanded its presence in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the United Kingdom. In 2017, it entered the United States with the purchase of ‘ESSENTIAL LIVING FOODS®’. Terrafertil has received international recognition for its positive social impact through its work with hundreds of small farmers. It employs 400 people and has four factories in Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

The transaction includes all of Terrafertil’s operations and assets in the seven countries where it operates. Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé Zone Americas said, “We are excited to welcome Terrafertil and its employees to the Nestlé family. Its natural, organic and healthy products fully support Nestlé’s purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future. This investment allows us to strengthen our presence in fast-growing categories such as plant-based foods, beverages and healthy snacks, known as ‘superfoods’ due to their high natural nutrient content.”

Freixe said “Terrafertil will continue to be managed by its founders. It will operate as a stand-alone entity, to leverage its unique corporate culture including entrepreneurial spirit, agility and flexibility.”

“Nestlé brings several benefits and synergies. Beyond expanding our presence and distribution around the world, we will capitalize on its experience in areas such as Research and Development, marketing knowledge, and operational efficiencies. Above all, we share Nestlé´s commitment to society, to the communities where it operates and the environment”, said the Bermeo brothers, founding partners of Terrafertil.

Nestlé and Terrafertil will make the corresponding notifications to the antitrust authorities, within the legal terms and in accordance with the provisions of the regulations of each country, as applicable.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Terrafertil.

Originally published on PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Lactalis has agreed to acquire siggi’s – the U.S. based maker of Icelandic style skyr yogurts with “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar” – for an undisclosed price.

siggi’s was founded by Siggi Hilmarsson who, after moving to the U.S. from his native Iceland, began making yogurt in his kitchen in response to American yogurt, which he found too sweet and full of extra ingredients. The recipe was based on skyr, the Icelandic style yogurt Siggi grew up eating in his native Iceland. With seed investment from his former professor, Siggi started selling his yogurt at an outdoor market in downtown Manhattan in 2006.  It is now the fastest growing yogurt in conventional grocery. siggi’s is a top 5 selling yogurt brand in many mainstream grocery chains including Stop & Shop, Meijer and Publix and recently became the #1 selling yogurt brand overall in Whole Foods1.

siggi’s will continue operating out of its New York City office and will remain a standalone company under its current senior leadership team, which includes its founder as CEO, and Bart Adlam as President.

“We’re excited to join the Lactalis family which offers the opportunity to further fuel our growth,” said Siggi Hilmarsson. “Our core values of clean ingredient label and less sugar will remain 100 percent unchanged. Consumers everywhere are actively trying to reduce sugar in their diets so our offering has a global relevance.”

Bart Adlam added, “siggi’s topline grew 50% in 2017 and we expect to match this in 2018 as we launch further innovations.  We are excited to keep the momentum going with support from the largest dairy player in the world.”

“We are delighted to welcome siggi’s to the Lactalis Group, which further expands our yogurt platform in the U.S. with this unique and fast-growing yogurt brand. We look forward to supporting siggi’s as it continues to bring its retail partners exceptional dollar growth in the yogurt category,” said Emmanuel Besnier, President of the Lactalis Group.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to siggi’s, and Dentons US LLP acted as legal counsel to the Lactalis Group, on the sale. The acquisition is subject to expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act in the United States.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Siggi’s on the sale and historically as corporate counsel for the company.

Originally published on BUSINESS WIRE

Unilever today announced an agreement to acquire Schmidt’s Naturals, a personal care company based in Portland, Oregon.

Founded in 2010 by Jaime Schmidt, Schmidt’s Naturals started as a deodorant brand and has extended its offering to bar soap and toothpaste. Schmidt’s natural deodorants include award-winning formulas derived from plants and minerals. Its most popular variants include Charcoal + Magnesium, Rose + Vanilla, Lavender + Sage, as well as fragrance-free offerings.

“Schmidt’s Naturals is a strong, innovative brand in the fast-growing natural category, and nicely complements our existing portfolio of US deodorants which includes leading brands Degree, Axe and Dove,” said Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America. “The brand’s focus on transparency and mission to make natural products accessible to everyone aligns closely with Unilever values and represents an exciting category expansion for our family of brands.”

Alan Jope, President, Unilever Personal Care, added: “Schmidt’s Naturals is a great strategic fit for our Personal Care business, allowing us to reach new consumers who prefer natural options. We look forward to utilizing our Personal Care leadership to extend Schmidt’s Naturals into new sales channels and geographies.”

Co-founders Jaime Schmidt and Michael Cammarata will continue to be involved with the brand.

“Today is a momentous day in the history of Schmidt’s Naturals as we announce our joining of the Unilever family of brands,” said Jaime Schmidt, Founder, Schmidt’s Naturals. “Thanks to our community, what started humbly in my kitchen and local farmers’ markets has grown into homes worldwide. I am proud to say that as a result of our partnership with Unilever, we are better positioned than ever in our mission to make natural products accessible to all. Moreover, Unilever’s substantive actions towards creating a more sustainable and equitable future for diverse peoples across the planet further fuels the enthusiasm behind our alliance.”

Michael Cammarata, Co-founder and CEO, Schmidt’s Naturals: “As long as I can remember, I’ve had one dream—to build and be part of a meaningful company that would help change the world and empower people everywhere to live their best lives. Today, Schmidt’s Naturals and Unilever are coming together to bring natural products to the world in new and innovative ways. Through our partnership, we look forward to Unilever taking Schmidt’s Naturals to new heights and cementing the brand’s mission.”

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Schmidt’s.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Subject to any applicable governmental authorizations, the transaction is expected to close no later than the first quarter 2018.

Originally published on NACS

Nestlé USA continues to diversify its coffee portfolio with the acquisition of Chameleon Cold-Brew, a provider of premium crafted coffee sourced consciously and grown sustainably.

Founded in 2010, Austin, Texas-based Chameleon has become the No. 1 organic cold brew brand in the United States, notes Nestle in a press release, and one of the top three refrigerated cold brew brands in the country. Its current portfolio consists of multi-serve concentrates and single-serve, ready-to-drink products, two segments that account for 18% of the $2.5 billion in-home coffee category.

“Chameleon has been extremely fortunate to grow from our hometown base of cold-brew lovers in Austin to a national brand in just a few short years,” said Chris Campbell, co-founder and CEO. “Partnering with a world-class company like Nestlé will give us the opportunity to do so on a bigger platform. Our shared values around product integrity and commitment to sustainability made Nestlé the best choice to enable Chameleon Cold-Brew to accomplish our goals for the future.”

Chameleon’s products are available in a variety of formats: ready-to-drink cold-brew, cold-brew concentrate, kegs, cold brew kits and whole bean coffee. Retailers carrying these products include Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, Albertson’s, and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

“We believe the Chameleon brand is perfectly positioned to support Nestlé’s strategy for coffee, which is to have a variety of offerings in terms of format, taste and price points,” said Paul Grimwood, chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA. “We believe this relationship will benefit both of us as we expand our access to the emerging cold brew category while helping Chameleon grow so that more people can enjoy its delicious, premium crafted coffee.”

As the world’s largest coffee producer, Nestlé champions responsible coffee sourcing around the world. Through the Nescafé Plan and the Farmer Connect program, the company has made a commitment to help secure the future of coffee. Nestlé is working directly with farmers to ensure they are growing viable, healthy crops, and that coffee farming remains sustainable.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Chameleon.


Originally published on PR Newswire

Vital Proteins, a wellness innovator of collagen-boosting nutrition, announced today that it has received a $19 million investment from CAVU Venture Partners, a VC and growth equity firm started by consumer products veterans known for backing and building iconic consumer brands. The investment further underscores Vital Proteins’ mission to push ingestible collagen into the mainstream and bring clean-label, whole food-based nutrition into the hands and homes of consumers nationwide.

“As a brand, we value authenticity in every element of our business — including our partnerships.  I was impressed by the genuine entrepreneurial drive of CAVU’s partners. They possess the deep strategic, operational, and brand-building expertise that will help us further accelerate Vital Proteins’ growth,” explained Kurt Seidensticker, CEO and founder of Vital Proteins. He continued, “I knew upon meeting them that they would be great partners in helping us further expand and accelerate our brand.”

Brett Thomas, CAVU’s co-founder and managing partner, commented, “In an extraordinarily short amount of time, Vital Proteins has become the leading lifestyle brand in the collagen nutrition space. Kurt has built one of the strongest organizations and cultures we have seen in the consumer products world, and we are excited to partner with him and his team in this next phase of growth.”

Bader Alam, Senior Vice President at CAVU, added, “Vital Proteins’ financial success and popularity is underpinned by products possessing a clean ingredient label, as well as their expertise in digital marketing. The collagen nutrition space has a lot of room for growth. Vital Proteins is well-positioned to capitalize on that opportunity, given their strong innovation pipeline and differentiated branding.”

CAVU representatives Brett Thomas and Bader Alam will join the company’s board of directors.  Vital Proteins will use the investment to accelerate growth, to educate consumers on the benefits of collagen nutrition and to create and bring to market additional healthy lifestyle products that people love.

Collagen, a natural protein found in the body, is an essential nutrient to the overall health and support of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints. The importance of collagen-boosting nutrition has emerged in recent years, proving itself to be a sustainable trend, with Vital Proteins leading the way. The brand’s collection of powder blends, bone broths, elixirs, and capsules is thoughtfully created with high-quality, all-natural ingredients that contain key proteins and nutrients needed to help you look and feel your best.

The four-year-old brand has achieved 240%+ consecutive year-over-year-growth for the past three years and has grown its retail presence into over 8,000 retail stores, further establishing the company as a leading lifestyle brand for collagen nutrition. Key retail partners include Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market, Erehwon, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Neiman Marcus. Consumers can expect to see Vital Proteins’ presence grow both on and offline and to expand to additional national retailers in the coming year.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Vital Proteins.

Originally published on Market Watch – Written by Annie Gasparro

Kellogg Co. plans to buy niche protein-bar company RXBAR for $600 million, joining other big food makers in tapping new brands to make up for falling sales of sugary, processed products.

Kellogg mainstays like Frosted Flakes and Pop-Tarts have faced declining sales in recent years. Chief Executive Steven Cahillane, who took over this week from John Bryant, is tasked with bringing the company more in line with the turn many consumers are making toward more natural, fresh foods.

Many of Kellogg’s competitors are also buying newer brands to adapt. Conagra Brands Inc. earlier this year bought Duke’s meat snacks and recently said it would buy Angie’s Boomchickapop popcorn. Campbell Soup Co. in July said it was acquiring Pacific Foods, an organic soup maker, for $700 million. And last year, General Mills Inc. bought EPIC Provisions meat snacks.

But in buying buzzy smaller brands, these giants risk depriving these startups of the identity that made them attractive to consumers. Kellogg acquired Kashi in 2000 and made big changes to the cereal maker’s marketing and innovation strategy, only to see it lose ground to newer all-natural brands.

The 25 largest food and beverage companies have lost billions of dollars in market share in recent years, consultancy A.T. Kearney said. Those companies averaged 2% annual sales growth from 2012 through 2016, compared with 6% growth for their smaller rivals, the company said.

After moving Kashi’s operations from Southern California to Kellogg’s headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich., executives realized they were hurting Kashi’s brand identity and move it back to the West Coast.

“Kellogg learned some lessons with Kashi. We won’t compromise our values, ” RXBAR co-Founder and Chief Executive Peter Rahal said.

Mr. Rahal said his company will continue running its business as a separate unit out of Chicago, but will benefit from Kellogg’s distribution, research and development capabilities. Mr. Rahal said he wants Kellogg to help his brand grow beyond protein bars and sell his products in more schools, hospitals and hotels.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Rxbar.

Originally published on New Hope

Seven Sundays, the fastest-growing brand of muesli in the U.S., received a growth capital investment from Katjesgreenfood (part of Katjes Group), based in Berlin, Germany. The investment will be used to expand distribution of the brand, which is currently sold in approximately 4,000 stores including Target, Costco, Safeway, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop and Sprouts.

Seven Sundays, founded in 2011 by Hannah Barnstable, has quickly become one of the fastest-growing natural cereal brands in the U.S. Offering sustainably sourced, non-GMO and gluten-free muesli cereals in a variety of flavors, Seven Sundays packs in the twice the protein with half the sugar as a typical granola.

The company has doubled sales each year since Barnstable first received capital from friends and family in 2014 after picking up distribution in Target stores across the country. She sees this latest round of capital and the partnership with Katjesgreenfood as a major milestone.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Katjesgreenfood. We knew after our first meeting that they were a completely unique investor, whose commitment to providing healthy food options and sustainability matches ours. Katjes is mission-driven, progressive in their thinking from brand to product innovation, and have a strong interest in the current food revolution. Together we plan to transform the U.S. breakfast market,” explained Barnstable.

“We are delighted that muesli, the most popular breakfast category in Europe, is growing double digits in the American market. Seven Sundays is the clear leader, and we believe that its strong brand, exceptional products and focus on threading sustainability into the business will lead to long term success,” added Dr. Manon Littek, CEO of Katjesgreenfood.

After falling in love with muesli on her honeymoon in New Zealand, founder, Hannah Barnstable, started making and selling her own unique batches from her kitchen. Using real, high quality ingredients like small, regenerative whole grains, nuts, seeds, real fruits and organic wildflower honey, Seven Sundays muesli tastes just as great as it makes you feel. All Seven Sundays’ products are naturally gluten free and contain no refined sugars or GMOs and are available at grocery stores nationwide as well as online.

Seven Sundays is the first and only U.S. company to receive an investment from Katjesgreenfood, a division of the Katjes Group.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Seven Sundays.

Source: Seven Sundays

Originally published on UFC

UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today announced a multi-year partnership with BODYARMOR® Sports Drink, establishing the isotonic brand as the first-ever “Official Sports Drink” of UFC.

As part of this ground-breaking collaboration, which covers the United States and begins in 2018, BODYARMOR will supply its line of high-end sports hydration products: BODYARMOR sports drink and BODYARMOR LYTE, to the UFC Performance Institute’s two “BODYARMOR Hydration Stations”.

“BODYARMOR is an industry leader in sports hydration and they are a perfect fit to partner with UFC,” UFC President Dana White said. “Providing UFC athletes with safe, nutritional products while training at the UFC Performance Institute is an important part of helping them maximize their overall performance and BODYARMOR will help us do that.”

“With the explosive growth that BODYARMOR has seen in recent years – it’s an exciting time for the brand to team up with UFC,” said Mike Repole, co-founder and chairman, BODYARMOR. “A partnership between the fastest-growing sports drink and the fastest-growing sports organization creates a tremendous opportunity for BODYARMOR to play an important role in the hydration needs of some of the best athletes in the world.”

In addition to product placement at the UFC Performance Institute, BODYARMOR will also serve as the presenting sponsor of select UFC weigh-in events, along with providing corner branding of stools, towels and buckets inside UFC’s world-famous Octagon® during all U.S.-based events. BODYARMOR will also have a presence on and live-event programming, as well as being integrated across multiple UFC-based social and digital platforms.

BODYARMOR is the fastest growing sports drink in its category, having seen a 110% increase in sales from last year. The consumer demand for a better-for-you sports drink has made BODYARMOR the #3 sports drink in the U.S. Kobe Bryant is the number three shareholder in BODYARMOR.

“BODYARMOR offers a better-for-you hydration option at a time when athletes in every sport are paying more attention to what they put into their bodies,” said Bryant. “UFC athletes demand the best in hydration and nutrition, and we’re excited to be partnering with the UFC on such a large scale.”

BODYARMOR has amassed a superstar roster of professional athletes who are also investors in the company, including James Harden, Mike Trout, Andrew Luck and Dustin Johnson, among others.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to BODYARMOR.

Originally published on PR Newswire

Mars Food has signed a definitive agreement today to acquire Preferred Brands International, a Stamford, Connecticut-based, fully integrated manufacturer and marketer of all-natural, ready-to-heat Indian and Asian food products sold primarily under the Tasty Bite® brand.

Tasty Bite’s® portfolio includes a wide range of vegetarian offerings, including Indian/Asian entrees, spice and simmer meal kits, and organic rice and lentils. While the majority of sales are generated in North America, Preferred Brands International also manufactures products that are sold through retailers in the UK and Australia and through foodservice in India.

Today’s agreement brings together two strong food businesses focused on delivering healthy, tasty, and convenient foods that bring inspiration and enjoyment to the world’s dinner table. Mars Food, a segment of Mars, Incorporated, has a broad portfolio of brands loved by consumers around the world, including ready-to-eat and dry rices and grains, sauces, meal kits, meal helpers, and spices under the brands UNCLE BEN’S®, MASTERFOODS®, DOLMIO®, SEEDS OF CHANGE®, and others.

Tasty Bite® manufactures products out of its Pune, India manufacturing facility and exports the majority of its products to the US. Preferred Brands International also enjoys a significant foodservice business under which it supplies food products to other leading food manufacturers and quick service restaurants in India.

Tasty Bite® has a subsidiary which is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India. This subsidiary will continue to be listed after the acquisition.

“Tasty Bite’s® broad range of dinner time products, focused on Indian and Asian cuisines, makes it a natural complement to our existing portfolio,” said Mars Food Global President Fiona Dawson. “Tasty Bite® is a fast growing Indian/Asian dinner time brand. Upon closing of the acquisition of Tasty Bite®, Mars Food will expand our all-natural vegetarian offerings in the US, and leverage Tasty Bite’s® strong product development pipeline, flavor expertise, and strategic sourcing of quality ingredients throughout our portfolio.”

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Mars Food family,” said Tasty Bite CEO Ashok Vasudevan. “The nearly quarter century of uninterrupted growth of Tasty Bite since its inception was powered by our deep commitment to sustainable practices and to the pursuit of consumer delight.

“Mars is one of the largest food companies in the world and a recognized leader and role model for corporate sustainability. Mars Foods’ strong brand portfolio, global infrastructure, and shared values makes it well-positioned to take Tasty Bite to the next level.”

The acquisition of Preferred Brands International is subject to applicable regulatory approvals and is expected to close by Q4 2017. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial advisor to Mars Food. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to Mars Food, and AZB & Partners served as India legal advisor. Tasty Bite® was represented by Goldman Sachs, The Giannuzzi Group, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.



Originally published on BevNET

Written by   Jul. 17, 2017

Plant-based protein smoothie brand Koia announced today the closing of a $7.5 million seed series fundraising round led by KarpReilly and AccelFoods.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Chris and the rest of the Koia team,” said Allan Karp, co- founder of KarpReilly, in a press release. “We rarely encounter a business that so early on has so clearly resonated with both retailers and consumers alike. Combined with an experienced and talented group of management, advisors, and co-investors we are confident that Koia is well positioned to become a category leader.”

Food and beverage venture capital fund AccelFoods, which first invested in Koia in March, also participated in this round. In a press release, co-founder and managing partner Jordan Gaspar said, “We are thrilled to further invest in Koia and the company’s vision of a plant-based future. Chris Hunter is a proven leader capable of building a world-class management team to grow this innovative next-generation brand.”

The news marks another step in the continued growth of Koia, which was launched in 2013 on the strength of a successful crowdfunding campaign. The smoothie is made with an almond milk base and a proprietary blend of brown rice, hemp and pea protein. Each of the three SKUs — cacao bean, vanilla bean and coconut almond — contain 16-19 grams of protein in each 12 oz. bottle and have a suggested retail price of $5.99.

As part of the round, Bill Moses, co-founder of probiotic beverage brand KeVita and an investor in Koia, will join the company’s board of directors. The brand also counts Bill Weiland, president and CEO of independent natural food broker Presence Marketing, as an investor and advisor and experienced beverage consultant Jim Tonkin as an investor.

“We are fortunate to have a robust investor and advisor group in my opinion,” said Hunter. “Bill in particular is very familiar and successful in the cold-chain beverage space. So leveraging some of his experience and knowledge in that at a high-growth company, handling that will be invaluable for us.”

Hunter said that the funds would be used to expand company staff. “We are in the process of hiring a director of marketing, and we are looking to some other sales roles,” he said. “We are really trying to fill out the leadership for each different division and then trying to set goals underneath that.”

In terms of distribution, Hunter said the brand, available nationally at Whole Foods, continues to build in the natural channel with an eye to eventual penetration into conventional retailers such as Wegmans, in which it recently launched.

“We are obviously a ready-to-drink plant-based protein product, and there are other RTD options out there, a majority of which are shelf-stable,” said Hunter. “I think that’s a different proposition compared to a fresh product like ours. I think what has really set us apart has been our nutritional panel in terms of this amazing efficient delivery of high protein and incredibly low sugar that seems to surprise people, not only when they read the label but also when they taste the product.”

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to GEM&BOLT.