Gathered Foods nets $26.35M

Dive Brief:

  • Gathered Foods, maker of Good Catch plant-based seafood, closed a $26.35 million B-2 bridge funding round. Investors in this round include global agricultural commodities superpower Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), as well as Unovis Asset Management and Big Idea Ventures.
  • The funds will be used to ramp up innovation, increase the number of products on the market and help Good Catch expand internationally. The expansion is slated to begin in Europe, and further rollouts are planned for later in 2021.
  • Good Catch had a big year of fundraising and growth in 2020. It raised $36.8 million in an extended Series B round, which netted investors from Big Food — including Greenleaf Foods and General Mills venture arm 301 Inc. — and the world of entertainment. It also launched new products, opened a factory and hired a new CEO.

Dive Insight:

In the past several years, Good Catch went from a small-scale startup to a leading player in the space. The plant-based seafood maker has attracted key partnerships, big funds and respected backers, and cemented its production ability for the long term with a custom-built factory.

This latest funding round continues that track record. LDC is one of the world’s leaders in commodities farming, sourcing and trading. This funding can help Good Catch not only find the ingredients it needs worldwide, but it also provides opportunities to make manufacturing and distribution inroads throughout the world. 

“Partnering with proven companies who are innovators in their own right can only sharpen our ability to positively disrupt a nascent industry with our innovative portfolio of Good Catch products,” Gathered Foods CEO Christine Mei said in a statement.

While LDC is active in the commodities and ingredients business, it has not been a large funder of other food companies. According to Crunchbase, its only previous investment was in high-tech ingredients company Benson Hill. Gathered Foods co-founder and Executive Chairman Chris Kerr said in a statement this investment is a milestone for the plant-based industry because of LDC’s global reach, procurement expertise, R&D capabilities and supply chain management knowledge.

Gathered Foods and Good Catch have taken advantage of other partnerships, both forged through funding rounds as well as agreements. Last year, the company announced a partnership with tuna titan Bumble Bee, which allows Good Catch to leverage its sales, distribution and logistics expertise to get its plant-based products on grocery store shelves. Kerr said in an interview last year that this partnership was responsible for all consumers who were able to find Good Catch products in their local supermarkets — and especially in the canned seafood aisle.

Other key partnerships through funding last year include Greenleaf Foods, which is the parent company of plant-based meat brand Lightlife, and General Mills’ 301 Inc., which also worked with Beyond Meat. These funders also have expertise both in international expansions and the plant-based meat market. Kerr said last year they helped plan expansions and fund the new factory and launches.

The company’s next innovation remains to be seen. Good Catch launched three frozen plant-based seafood products last year — New England Style Plant-Based Crab Cakes, Thai Style Plant-Based Fish Cakes and Classic Plant-Based Fish Burgers. These products are not breaded, which Kerr said at the time was a way to put their quality up front; breading is a good way to hide flaws. With proof of concept for plant-based fish and crab already on the market, perhaps battered plant-based fish sticks could be next. The company may also be interested in taking on other forms of seafood, including salmon or shrimp.

New products may also be custom-developed for restaurants as well. The partnership with Bumble Bee gives Good Catch access to Anova Food, a supplier owned by the tuna giant that sells prime seafood to foodservice. Kerr said last year the plant-based company will take advantage of this relationship, but had waited on launches because of the coronavirus pandemic. As restaurant dining rooms begin to reopen and consumers look forward to eating out, more plant-based seafood options on menus would be well timed.

Source link