Vegan dairy company Kite Hill has secured $40 million in funding. The investment will allow the brand to boost capacity and develop new products.
For those who love cheese and milk, but want to avoid the health, environmental, and ethical complications of dairy consumption, Kite Hill fills a space. The company produces a range of plant-based yogurts, in flavors like vanilla, peach, key lime, and strawberry, as well as vegan cream cheese in chive and jalapeño flavors. Kite Hill also offers ravioli, artisanal cheese, and almond milk.
Kite Hill’s recently acquired funding was made possible by 301 INC, a new business development unit at leading international food company, General Mills. CAVU Venture Partners, which invests in “passionate entrepreneurs with big ideas,” also participated in the round.
“This investment propels Kite Hill into a great position to continue our rapid pace of expansion,” said Kite Hill’s CEO Rob Leibowitz in a statement. “We are eager to meet the seemingly insatiable consumer demand for our delicious chef-inspired plant-based, vegan foods.”
“As such, we’ll be investing substantially in factory capacity expansion,” he said. “We will also continue to innovate in product development and marketing to drive further awareness and adoption of our delicious foods which never compromise and always deliver extremely well on both taste and texture.”
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Co-founder and Chef Tal Ronnen added that Kite Hill was born out of the desire to craft “first-rate dairy alternatives” that everyone can enjoy. Ronnen said that so far, Kite Hill’s products have exceeded even the team’s expectations. He added, “Now that we are available nationwide, we want to continue to offer people the high quality, innovative products they have come to expect from us at Kite Hill. We are showing consumers just how delicious plant-based foods can be.”
Major retailers across the U.S. stock Kite Hill’s vegan dairy products, such as Whole Foods Market, Target, Sprouts, Kroger, and Publix, among others.
John Haugen, founder and managing director of investor 301 INC, commented that plant-based foods have now moved into the mainstream market. He added, “As more people are making changes in their diet, we see incredible untapped potential in the market for [Kite Hill] to expand its consumer base and grow.”
A growing bank of research shows that cow’s milk is falling out of favor with the public. In the U.S., sales of fluid milk have been on a steady decline since the 1970’s. A study released by Cargill last month uncovered that 50 percent of Americans — vegan or not — are drinking dairy-free milk. A poll from earlier this year found that one-fifth of the British public want to give up cow’s milk and cheese in 2018. In Ireland, 41 percent of women and 38 percent of men are said to be actively avoiding or ditching dairy altogether.
Image Credit: Kite Hill
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