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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.


Originally posted on BevNET

Owl’s Brew, makers of tea-based cocktail mixers and a tea-and-beer Radler line, announced Thursday it has closed a $4 million series A funding round. The round included large investments from investment firm Cambridge Companies SPG and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “disruptive growth organization,” ZX Ventures.

Speaking to BevNET, Owl’s Brew co-founder and CEO Jennie Ripps said the capital infusion would go toward funding the expansion of the brand’s Radler line. The products — which are made with premium light beer, fresh-brewed organic tea and infused with real fruits and botanicals — launched in October but began a stronger East Coast rollout in Q1.

The funding will enable Owl’s Brew to support its wholesalers and distributors as the brand moves into new markets, Ripps added. As part of ZX’s investment, a representative of the group will join Owl’s Brew’s board of directors.

The Radler is currently available in 14 East Coast states and sold in roughly 1,500 stores, including Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Shaw’s, Shop-Rite, and Total Wine. The Radlers will expand into PriceChopper in June.

“We’re pleased to be part of such an innovative organization,” Filipp Chebotarev, COO and Partner at Cambridge Companies SPG, said in a press release. “Jennie Ripps and [president] Maria Littlefield are incredible founders with a proven ability to bring ideas to mass market. Cambridge Companies SPG is proud to be part of this fast growing brand which has established impressive category velocity, widespread distribution and strategic partnerships across North America.”

Owl’s Brew also landed an on-premise arrangement with concert and events giant Live Nation to sell the Radler line at 21 of its amphitheatre venues in the markets where the brand has distribution, including the Xfinity Centers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Ford Amphitheater in New York, and the Verizon Amphitheater in Georgia. Live Nation venues nationwide attract more than 30 million people annually, Ripps said, and the new funding will also be used to help promote the Live Nation partnership.

According to Ripps, Owl’s Brew met with Live Nation executives during the 2016 National Restaurant Association show and the companies have been working closely together since to prepare the launch.

“I think it’s probably the most exciting, largest, on-premise opportunity that I can imagine to coincide with the launch of our brand for the summer,” Ripps said. “In terms of building brand awareness we feel extraordinarily lucky they want to be our partners and sell our product.”

Owl’s Brew launched in 2013 as a tea-based cocktail mixer line. While the brand has now embraced beer, Ripps said the company’s main focus still lies in creating “clean” tea and botanical ingredient-based products. However, since launching, sales of the Radler products have quadrupled and Ripps expects the line to be the largest driver of company growth in the near future. While the company’s flagship cocktail mixers are performing well, Ripps admitted that uses for those offerings are more niche and limited than the ready-to-drink Radler.

“You can drink it at a concert, you can drink it at the beach, you can crack one open much more readily so there’s no barrier for entry,” she said.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Owl’s Brew.


Originally posted on

Campbell’s has invested $10 million in US meal kit upstart Chef’d, less than two weeks after Unilever led investment in a similar kind of business.

The soup company will become Chef’d’s largest strategic investor and receive a seat on the company’s board of directors. The deal will help grow Campbell’s e-commerce capabilities, with Chef’d offering an online platform through which consumers can order meal kits from various different brands.

Unlike other meal kit delivery companies, which focus on a singular product line, Chef’d brings together various different offerings from the likes of Atkins and Weightwatchers.

Chef’d has also developed its own range of meal kits covering different meal times and cuisines.

Campbell Soup president and chief executive officer Denise Morrison said: “E-commerce will transform the food industry in similar ways to how it transformed entertainment and apparel. It is a game changer for consumers, food makers and retailers alike. The movement is irrevocable and irreversible. In the future, shopping for and preparing meals will be flexible, fully automated and even anticipatory. Chef’d will help Campbell connect with our consumers where they are today and, more importantly, where they’re headed.”

Campbell’s expects e-commerce food and drink sales to reach $66 billion by 2021, and its latest investment will be a vote of confidence in the overall meal kit concept.

Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford added: “We are actively looking to add strategic partners and Campbell’s outlook on the future of food and e-commerce aligns perfectly with the Chef’d vision of the future of online grocery. Both Campbell and Chef’d believe in continuing to drive innovation in the new food economy, particularly around consumer customisation and e-commerce solutions.”

Campbell’s is joined in investing in Chef’d by Fresh Direct, which is making a follow-on investment to their Series A investment.

It comes less than two weeks after Unilever led investment in Sun Basket, the US organic meal delivery service, as part of a $9.2 million funding round.

The company offers consumers meal kits delivered to their door weekly, consisting of organic and non-GMO ingredients alongside an easy-to-prepare recipe.

Sun Basket grew sales by 1,300% in 2016 and has added $124 million in new annual revenue run rate since last September alone, underscoring the potential in this nascent market.

The meal box format has experienced strong growth in recent years, inspired by Scandinavian retail and buoyed by the addition of many new companies in markets around the world.

As the sector evolves, many find themselves offering a specific point of difference – like ethical or organic ingredients – or, as Chef’d has done, bringing a large number of services together in one place.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Chef’d.


Originally posted on First Beverage Group

Los Angeles, CA – May 24, 2017 – First Beverage Ventures, the private equity arm of First Beverage Group, is pleased to announce its investment in GEM&BOLT as the lead investor in an equity raise completed by the company.

Distilled in Oaxaca, GEM&BOLT is an artisanal mezcal made with 100% espadin and the Mexican herb damiana, known for its mythological healing properties.

Mezcal is one of the fastest growing spirit categories, tapping into consumer interest in agave-based spirits as well as craft spirits that incorporate local ingredients and production methods. GEM&BOLT’s founders developed their unique brand with a local artisanal mezcal-producing family in Oaxaca and created a product that is both smooth enough to drink on its own and well balanced to mix perfectly in a fresh cocktail.

The company will use the proceeds from this raise to increase retail availability by expanding its sales and marketing efforts with key distributor partners in the United States.

“GEM&BOLT is a truly unique and standout brand in a high-growth category,” said Bill Anderson, founder and CEO of First Beverage. “But most importantly it’s a brand led by four women who bring a rare combination of vision, purpose, style and execution. We couldn’t be more grateful to have the opportunity to join them in their journey.”

“There’s a great deal of market interest today in mezcal as a result of the category’s significant growth,” noted Kristen Bareuther, a managing director at First Beverage. “GEM&BOLT’s highly differentiated product – in taste profile, positioning and packaging – coupled with its core consumer following and dedicated, deeply experienced founder team make it an exciting proposition for First Beverage.”

Created by artist-alchemist duo AdrinAdrina and Elliott Coon, GEM&BOLT is the culmination of a journey which started with a shared bohemian childhood and an interest in apothecary and the homeopathic benefits of herbs and led to a love of mezcal and its role in Mexican culture. “We are on the front end of defining what this category can become with a brand that was born out of a love and respect for art and nature,” said AdrinAdrina. “The sense of place that comes from what we are doing here in Oaxaca is so powerful,” added Elliott Coon. “There is a natural harmony between the agave and damiana that each thrive here, and we have taken our time to craft a mezcal spirit that is truly experiential and celebrates a bond between art + plants.”

AdrinAdrina and Elliott Coon partnered with seasoned beverage veterans, Jody Levy, co-founder and creative director at WTRMLN WTR, Lisa Derman, former COO of Stoli Group USA, and Vicente Reyes, an agave beverage expert based in Oaxaca, Mexico who is actively involved in the cultivation and preservation of agave, and correspondingly, mezcal, to create an artisanal product that brings together art + plants in a manner that honors its cultural traditions.

“We love the work we are doing and the culture that grounds us and guides us at GEM&BOLT,” said Lisa Derman. “There is a satisfaction to making something that is pure and authentic, paying homage to great traditions and bottling an experience that can be shared in new circles and in new ways. Our partnership with First Beverage is the next step in our journey, and one that we are very excited for.”

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


Originally published on PR Newswire

WALTHAM, Mass., May 3, 2017

Spindrift, the first sparkling water made with real fruit, announces the closing of $10 million of new growth capital led by VMG Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in and building branded consumer product companies. Additional investors in the round include Prolog Ventures, Karp Reilly, and other existing investors.

Spindrift experienced more than 800 percent growth in revenue over the past 24 months. Driven by consumer demand for brands that offer simple ingredients and a focus on transparency, Spindrift has been able to grow steadily in the emerging sparkling water space. New capital allows the brand to continue expansion into other classes of trade while investing in production infrastructure to allow for greater capacity around bringing quality products using only real ingredients to market.

“We are excited and humbled by the continued support for our brand,” says Founder & CEO Bill Creelman. “In most ways, working with real ingredients is a complete reset for the sparkling category. This capital allows us to continue to support our current business partners and pursue expansion opportunities in new channels and geographies.”

“We’re thrilled by the opportunity to continue our partnership with Spindrift. It is a superb brand, with fantastic products, and a talented and experienced management team,” said Robin Tsai, principal at VMG and Spindrift board member.

“Sparkling water is a category where the youngest brand is 30 years old,” added Ilya Nykin, managing director for Prolog. “What excites us is the opportunity to usher in a new age of sparkling: sparkling 2.0.”

Creelman started Spindrift in 2010 as a solution to kick his soda addiction, and to build something he felt comfortable giving to his young kids. The decision to use real fruit originated from growing up on a farm in Western Mass. where his groceries were sourced primarily from local farms. From the kitchen to the board room, Spindrift first started in his house in Charlestown, Mass. and now has more than 30 employees and is distributed nationally in key retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Target and Costco.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Spindrift.

For more information about Spindrift, please visit

Originally posted on City Buzz List

Kidfresh, the fast-growing brand of better-for-you frozen kids meals announced today that it has closed on its Series B equity round of funding led by Monogram Capital Partners, alongside existing institutional investors Emil Capital Partners and AccelFoods.

Founded by Matt Cohen and Gilles Deloux, two fathers frustrated by the lack of better-for-you food choices for their children, New York based Kidfresh has grown into a nationally distributed line of frozen meals. The Kidfresh platform offers a line of reinvented children’s favorite meals enriched with vegetables, made with wholesome ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. This round of funding will be used to accelerate growth and continue to disrupt the category, expand the Kidfresh team, drive brand awareness and support its rapid expansion into new growth channels.

“We want children to have better food choices than we had as kids,” says Kidfresh Co-Founder Matt Cohen. “Today’s parents are saying no to processed foods and yes to nutritious and convenient meals for their children. We are creating a solution for them and a destination in the frozen food aisle. Monogram, Emil Capital and AccelFoods constitute the dream team for Kidfresh and are simply the best partners in the industry. We are thrilled!”

“We are incredibly excited to join the Kidfresh team,” said Monogram Founder and Partner Jared Stein. “In today’s often crowded consumer landscape, Matt and Gilles have built a brand with a strong reason to exist in a category of frozen food that is starved for innovation. At its core, Kidfresh is on an authentic mission to provide parents with food offerings that are equal parts healthy and convenient at an approachable price point. We believe the next generation of moms will increasingly look to Kidfresh as a trusted partner in feeding their families, and look forward to supporting the team in this exciting next phase of growth.”

“As a Venture Capital firm focusing on the new American consumer and its desire and demand for ‘better and healthier choices’, Kidfresh has been a perfect fit for us since our first investment a few years ago,” commented Founding Partner Andreas Guldin. “And we are so excited to further support the vision, the brand and the exceptional management of Kidfresh on the journey to provide just better food and real solutions to consumers who care about what their families eat!”

AccelFoods Co-Founder and Managing Partner Jordan Gaspar added, “In partnering with Kidfresh, we see tremendous opportunity in investing behind a company that addresses an underserved market, children. As working moms, we have been looking for a platform focused on nutrition for young families since we launched AccelFoods. It is time for innovation in our children’s meal solutions. We look forward to supporting a banner year for Kidfresh as it continues its mission to transform the food that working parents offer their families.” The early-stage investment fund is known for curating innovative brands in food & beverage and positioning them for high growth.

The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Kidfresh.

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J.–()–Unilever announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire Sir Kensington’s, a New York-based condiment maker.

“Working with Unilever will allow us to more rapidly expand distribution while holding true to our values as we help define the next generation of good food.”

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Sir Kensington’s is a mission-driven company and a pioneer and leader in condiments sold in the organic and natural marketplace. Having seen strong growth the past four years, the product line now includes award-winning mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and a ground-breaking vegan mayo made from aquafaba called Fabanaise™. Launched in 2010, Sir Kensington’s is dedicated to using the finest, sustainably sourced ingredients. Sir Kensington’s mission, and its products, align with Unilever’s vision to make sustainable living commonplace and will complement the company’s current portfolio of products in its Foods category.

“We are excited to bring Sir Kensington’s into the Unilever family. Their mission to bring ‘integrity and charm to ordinary and overlooked food’ is very much in line with our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan,” said Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America. “Sir Kensington’s is an innovative business with outstanding products and a leader in the organic and natural marketplace. We look forward to leveraging our joint understanding of food trends and consumer preferences to significantly grow the business.”

Matthew McCarthy, Vice President of Foods, Unilever North America, added: “Sir Kensington’s is a beautiful brand. The acquisition aligns perfectly with our global Sustainable Nutrition strategy, moving us forward on our mission to delight consumers, produce delicious food with less impact on the environment and promote nutritious cooking.”

Unilever continues to support a transforming food industry by committing to produce food that tastes good, does good and doesn’t cost the Earth.

“We’re honored to partner with such a progressive and purpose-driven company in this next chapter,” said Mark Ramadan, CEO & Co-Founder, Sir Kensington’s.

Scott Norton, Co-Founder, Sir Kensington’s, added: “Working with Unilever will allow us to more rapidly expand distribution while holding true to our values as we help define the next generation of good food.”

Co-Founders Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton will continue in their roles at Sir Kensington’s.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks. The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Sir Kensington’s. 


Originally posted on WWD

L Catterton and a handful of celebrities, including Karlie Kloss, have teamed up to invest in coconut oil brand Kopari Beauty.

The San Diego-based brainchild of cofounders Bryce and Gigi Goldman, Kiana Cabell and James Brennan, Kopari launched online only in 2015, followed by a launch last October and recent QVC debut. The company’s products include Coconut Sheer Oil, $44; Coconut Body Glow, $42; Organic Coconut Melt, $38; Coconut Balm, $32; Coconut Crush Scrub, $28; Coconut Misting Body Oil, $34; Coconut Body Milk, $30; Coconut Cleansing Oil, $32; Coconut Rose Toner, $24; Coconut Face Cream, $38, and Coconut Lip Love, $10.

“The capital really will drive more of the awareness building,” said Michael Farello, managing partner at L Catterton, which has invested in beauty companies CoverFX, Bliss, Clio Professional, Dr. Wu, Ideal Image, Intercos Group and StriVectin.

The L Catterton and celebrity money (Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Hilary Duff and Shay Mitchell are also investing) should also help Kopari expand in terms of geographies and products — right now, the vast majority of Kopari’s sales come from its own e-commerce operations. Kopari and L Catterton were both mum on the details of the minority investment and sales figures, but industry sources estimated the brand had about $5 million in sales for 2016.

“We’re looking to increase sales over [the year] by at least three or four times, and not only the capital they brought to the table, but the other resources and support that they bring is going to help us get there,” said Bryce Goldman, Kopari’s chief executive officer. The celebrities mainly came into play through Brennan, a restaurateur who also founded Suja Juice, which counts Leonardo DiCaprio as an investor, he said. “Having them as investors and actually writing checks into the company really sets the stage for…some way to work together down the line in a very authentic fashion,” Brennan said.

Immediately down the line is Kopari’s launch in 340 Sephora U.S. doors, where the brand’s Organic Coconut Melt and Coconut Body Glow are set to launch as part of the Scouted by Sephora program, which features niche beauty brands. Coconut Melt is the company’s bestseller, while Body Glow and Sheer Oil are tied for second place, according to the brand.

“They’ve got an increased focus on indie brands, and they realize a lot of their customers and people, in general, are interested in these up-and-coming brands and discovering those brands, with a focus on natural, so we fit both of those boxes,” said Gigi Goldman. Kopari exceeded initial expectations on, she added, noting that it also did well during its four airings on QVC. International shipping direct from the Kopari site launched about six weeks ago, and the business works with Sephora Canada and is in discussions with Sephora Europe.

Kopari's product lineup is made with coconut oil from the Philippines and without toxins.

Kopari’s product lineup is made with coconut oil from the Philippines and without toxins.

Kopari’s niche positioning — the brand makes natural products with coconut oil sourced from the Philippines, without sulfates, silicones, parabens, GMOs or toxins — is one of the things that drew in L Catterton.

“Kopari came up on our list early as one of the dozen or so brands that we’re tracking and watching,” said Farello. “It’s natural and efficacious and we look for that combination and see both of those trends as ones that will continue to endure for the next five-plus years.”

On the product side, Kopari’s focus right now is on driving sales of the skin-care range that launched in January — the cleansing oil, toner, cream and lip balm — but the ingredient stories of future products may veer beyond just the coconut, the founders said.

“We are looking at other components and ingredients as well,” said Brennan. “Things that enhance the benefits of coconut oil are very important to us as well,” Cabell added.

Kopari is the latest digitally native beauty business to attract investor capital. Recently, skin-care and makeup brand Glossier raised a $24 million Series B venture capital round from IVP and Index Ventures. Other Internet-savvy brands like Too Faced, Becca Cosmetics and NYX have attracted Estée Lauder and L’Oréal as buyers. For the big beauty players, betting on digitally fluent brands brings know-how and growth in house; for private equity firms that watch the size and multiples on big beauty exits, investments provide the chance to reap those returns.

*The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Kopari.

Originally posted on; Written by John Kell

The move builds on the minority stake PepsiCo took in KeVita back in 2013.

PepsiCo has agreed to fully acquire sparkling probiotic drink maker KeVita, a deal that will diversify the soda and snacking giant’s portfolio by adding another brand that taps consumer interest in healthier beverages.

Rumors of a potential deal between PepsiCo  PEP -0.92%  and KeVita surfaced last month when Reuters reported the parties were close to a deal the news agency pegged at “less than $500 million.” Fortune has learned that the transaction price is actually around $200 million.

The transaction, which is set to close over the next couple of months, builds on the minority stake PepsiCo took in KeVita back in 2013. PepsiCo helped KeVita expand distribution, and intends to further push the brand’s access to retail markets now that it will fully own it.

For PepsiCo—owner of the namesake soda brand, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Quaker Oats—the deal is a way to bulk up on the consumer trend toward “functional” beverages, which are selling strongly as consumers look for more nutritional benefits in the foods and drinks they consume. KeVita is also on-trend in other ways: the beverages in the portfolio generally contain between five and 45 calories per serving, and most of the flavors are sweetened with stevia and contain no sugar.

Adding KeVita to PepsiCo’s portfolio will also help the beverage giant make good on its promise that by 2025 at least two-thirds of its global beverage portfolio volume will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugars per 12-oz serving. The entire KeVita line, with 27 skus currently on shelves today, meets that criteria.

The move is also a significant pivot for PepsiCo as it aims to diversity the portfolio to tilt more heavily toward beverages that are in the health and wellness space of the grocery aisle at a time when U.S. consumers are drinking less carbonated soft drinks because of concerns about high calorie counts and some sweeteners found in those drinks. Consumers are leaning more toward bottled water, juices, kombucha, and flavored waters that are more on trend today, so it makes sense that PepsiCo would want more brands in house to address those broader trends.

PepsiCo doesn’t often fully acquire brands like KeVita, which was founded in 2009, as the company’s management is fairly prudent about not overpaying for a food or beverage startup. Chief executive Indra Nooyi has said that while PepsiCo doesn’t shy away from making investments that can create value for shareholders over the long term, finding the right buying opportunity can be a challenge. Smaller startups, in particular, are often excessively priced.

“The truth is, we look at almost everything that’s out there, but obviously we buy very, very few things,” vice chairman and Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told The Streetin an interview earlier this year. He said PepsiCo tends to average less than $500 million per year in tuck-in acquisitions.

Upon closing, KeVita will operate independently with its production and bottling facilities located in California. The brand’s co-founders, Bill Moses and Chakra Earthsong, will stay on and serve as brand ambassadors. KeVita will be tucked into the PepsiCo Premium Nutrition business, which also includes the juice and smoothie Naked Juice and sparkling juice maker IZZE.

The Giannuzzi Group, LLP acted as legal counsel to KeVita.