- The multi-brand plant-based platform LiveKindly Collective raised $135 million in a round led by Blue Horizon Corporation, with participation from Trustbridge Partners, EQT and Griffith Foods.
- Funds from this round will be used to increase capacity and accelerate a 2021 nationwide launch of its brands into the U.S. The collective will also work toward developing new products, with a particular focus on plant-based chicken and eggs.
- This latest capital infusion brings the company's total funding to $335 million since it launched in March. The company, which is led by a former Unilever veteran, has since grown its foothold in the plant-based space with five international deals.
LiveKindly wants to take on the meat industry and the company said it is working toward that by first becoming "one of the highest funded plant-based food companies globally."
With $335 million secured, the collective is now working on expanding the brands it has acquired by increasing their distribution and market penetration. For its 2021 launch into the U.S., LiveKindly plans to bring over its recently acquired portfolio brands, including Fry Family Food Co., which is popular in South Africa; Germany-based LikeMeat; and Sweden-based Oumph.
Plant-based foods have surged in popularity during the pandemic, which has helped LiveKindly amid its launch. LiveKindly CEO Kees Kruythoff told The Wall Street Journal that there was increased demand for its Oumph and Fry Family brands since they are in the frozen section. He also told the Journal that the collective plans to continue expanding its portfolio by backing more acquisitions of companies and brands before the end of this year with this new round of capital.
LiveKindly is focusing on plant-based chicken alternatives. The company said earlier this year that because chicken is the world’s most-consumed meat, it is a logical protein to offer consumers an alternative. The company also noted plant-based chicken can be made using a few simple ingredients, unlike the long ingredients list and processing needed for plant-based beef.
The simplicity of chicken production coupled with its popularity makes the protein an attractive target for manufacturers that have largely focused on beef until now. LiveKindly is looking to jump in and fill the demand by more widely rolling out Fry Family Food Co. stateside. The South African family-owned firm offers a variety of vegan chicken products.
In addition to chicken, LiveKindly's brands offer a lot of variety. Oumph sells meat analogue strips and “meat” topped pizzas, for example, while LikeMeat offers kebabs, chicken nuggets, chicken curry and schnitzel.
LiveKindly is also working to introduce its own products with a focus on price parity. According to the National Chicken Council, the retail price per pound of chicken was $1.87 per pound in 2019. Products like Beyond Meat chicken strips, which are now discontinued, retailed for $5.99 for a 9-ounce bag.
As it expands its brands and works on developing more products, LiveKindly has built a team of industry veterans from Nestlé, Unilever and Ferrero that will be an advantage for its launch into the U.S. market. These veterans are able to offer their experience and know-how to the smaller companies it acquires to help make the connections necessary to more rapidly expand these brands in a crowded marketplace with major players.