- Grupo Bimbo is the lead investor in a Series A funding found for LiveKuna, a manufacturer of natural products made from superfood ingredients including quinoa and chia. No details were given on the amount of the funding round or how much Grupo Bimbo contributed.
- The baking giant will also partner with LiveKuna on superfood innovations, help expand its distribution in North America and increase the network of farmers it works with to source its ingredients.
- The investment is the latest to come from Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, as it broadens its reach into categories beyond its popular lines of breads, pastries, muffins and bagels.
Grupo Bimbo has assembled a portfolio of brands that includes Entenmann's and Sara Lee baked goods, Thomas' English muffins and Ball Park buns. But while the company has a solid foundation with these offerings, it has been investing money into companies with a foothold in trendier categories growing in popularity with consumers.
LiveKuna, established in Ecuador, is no exception. The company works with farmers to source healthy ingredients like chia and quinoa, while sharing with consumers the story of who, when and where the ingredients come from. LiveKuna’s portfolio of natural products includes gluten-free flours, pastas, cereals, seeds and grains in addition to its fast-growing line of superfood snacks called KunaPops.
The company is rapidly expanding and moving into new categories. Revenue for KunaPops, a variety of puffed snacks, doubled from 2020 to 2021, LiveKuna said. The brand will introduce sweet KunaPops in cereal and snack formats in the first quarter of next year. It is aiming to grow at double digits year-over-year over the next five years while adding more products to its portfolio.
“LiveKuna exceeds the expectations of today’s consumers, delivering clean label snacks and traceable ingredients without sacrificing taste,” said Constantino Matouk, director of Bimbo Ventures, the venture capital arm of Grupo Bimbo. “As we double down in the better-for-you category, we know LiveKuna — a purpose-led brand committed to sourcing superfood ingredients from family farms — will push the limits of what’s possible in snacking.”
The two companies began working together in 2020 when Grupo Bimbo selected LiveKuna to develop a superfood bread made with sustainably grown and traceable chia and quinoa. As part of the investment announced Monday, a Grupo Bimbo representative will join LiveKuna’s board.
Grupo Bimbo's investment in LiveKuna is similar to a minority investment it made earlier this year in Rule Breaker Snacks, a maker of vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly treats. Rule Breaker features chickpeas as the first ingredient in its brownies and blondies. The treats are high in protein and fiber, according to the company.
As consumers spend more time snacking and in many cases eating healthier, a shift that has only gained momentum during the ongoing pandemic, companies such as LiveKuna will stand to benefit from increased demand.
Carlos Gutiérrez, co-founder and president of LiveKuna, said his company will be able to tap into Grupo Bimbo's experience working with top CPG brands and its "category know-how [that will] will be instrumental in evolving the LiveKuna brand.” LiveKuna, which is currently sold on Amazon, Sprouts Farmers Market and select regional retailers across the U.S., will undoubtedly benefit from Grupo Bimbo's distribution network, innovation and marketing heft and ability to source ingredients to help the brand grow and increase sales.