- Cali'flour Foods has received investment funds from Sunrise Strategic Partners and Trilantic North America, with participation from CircleUp Growth Partners, according to a release. The company said growth with this investment will be led by its new CEO Mike Anderson.
- Although the amount of the investment was not disclosed, Steve Hughes, CEO and co-founder of Sunrise, told Food Navigator the emerging brands accelerator makes investments in companies with revenue between $10 million and $20 million. He added that Cali'flour, which sells low-carb, high-fiber cauliflower pizza crusts, flatbreads, crackers and pasta, is "on the high side of that after two years."
- Hughes told the Boulder Daily Camera that Sunrise will assist Cali'flour with scaling up operations, developing innovations and expanding retail sales in grocery stores since 90% of its business is currently online.
Since the brand launched in 2016, Cali'flour has grown substantially, developing and manufacturing 19 products made from fresh cauliflower. As the company shifts into its next phase, new CEO Mike Anderson will use his previous retail experience, paired with these new investments, to help expand Cali'flour's products from about 3,000 retail locations currently to its goal of 10,000 or more by the end of the year. Anderson recently joined the company from Factory, a scale-up facility for startup brands, and previously was president of NS Sales, a sales and marketing agency for natural food brands.
Besides its line of pizza crusts, Cali'flour makes flatbreads, crackers and pasta — all gluten-free, grain-free, low-carb, high-fiber and suitable for those with auto-immune diseases, food allergies and diabetes. It is not the only company, however, latching on to the cauliflower trend. The vegetable is making an appearance in products across several categories, including formerly flour-based items, as well as rice and mashed potatoes substitutes.
Nestlé introduced a cauliflower crust pizza under its Sweet Earth brand in 2018, joining its more traditional pizzas marketed with the Digiorno, Tombstone and Jack's pizza labels. Other companies in the space include Caulipower, which makes cauliflower-based pizza crusts and tortillas, and Hippie Snacks, a producer of cauliflower crisps. Cauliflower has become the most popular veggie pizza crust, and sales of cauliflower substitutes were worth $17 million between June 2017 and June 2018, according to Nielsen statistics cited by The New York Times.
This rising demand has benefited farmers in California's Salinas Valley, which grows about 90% of the U.S. supply of cauliflower, followed by Arizona and New York. According to Time magazine, sales hit $390 million in 2016, up from $239 million in 2012. Cauliflower's versatility is key. It is naturally low in calories and is considered a good source of vitamins C, K and B6, as well as fiber and antioxidants. These assets suggest a longer-term trend rather than just a flash in the pan.