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JMK Leads Series B for Plant-Based Cheese Maker

February 15, 2017

Dairy-free, nut-based cheese and butter maker, Miyoko’s Kitchen, announced the close of a $6 million Series B led by JMK Consumer Growth Partners. The round also included Obvious Ventures, Stray Dog Capital, and CircleUp, which facilitated the introduction of JMK to Miyoko’s Kitchen, resulting in JMK leading the round.

Founded by cookbook author and entrepreneur Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Kitchen began selling its products in the summer of 2014. Using bacterial cultures to ferment nut milk (in this case – cashew), the company employs traditional cheesemaking techniques and other ingredients, including chickpeas, rice koji, nutritional yeast, koji spores, sea salt and water, to create products that can stand on their own against traditional dairy-based cheeses and butters, and which are now being sold in Whole Foods, Wegmans, Natural Grocers, Raley’s, Trader Joe’s, and others.

“Indeed – the lure of cheese is strong, and many of us have fallen to its siren call,” states the company on its website. “We hope to be able to answer that call with the most delectable whole-foods, plant-base cheeses in the world!”

The capital from this round is being allocated by the company to fund the continued growth of its product lines and the expansion of its distribution capabilities. Additionally, the funding will be used to support the completion of a new manufacturing facility in Petaluma, California, which will increase capacity by 30 times the current levels in order to meet growing demand.

Schinner explained her products’ wide appeal to Food Navigator last year, saying, “There is a core vegan audience that passionately follows us, plus people that are lactose intolerant or have a milk protein allergy. But the wider audience is health-conscious foodies, and people that are looking for something new, or think that the dairy industry isn’t sustainable…and that’s before you even think about the treatment of the animals.”

It is this appeal and tie-in to building food trends, but also Miyoko Kitchen’s underlying mission, that drew in JMK to the round.

“JMK and Miyoko’s Kitchen are a perfect match,” said Schinner. “The JMK team’s understanding of food trends and their appreciation for true innovation in the food space impressed me immediately. What JMK saw in Miyoko’s was not just a food brand, but a company dedicated to a mission of human, environmental and animal health.”

New York-based JMK seeks out growth capital investments of up to $10 million in high-growth, branded, consumer businesses that post minimum annual revenue of $2 million. Along with its commitment of capital, JMK also strives to become a value-added thought partner for each of its portfolio companies to achieve maximum growth and value in the food and beverage, beauty and personal care, fashion and leisure, household, and pet industries.

“Miyoko and the Miyoko’s Kitchen team have worked very hard to build a formidable brand,” said John Kenney, co-founder of JMK Consumer Growth Partners. “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Miyoko and her very talented team to help fuel the next stage of the growth story.”

 

-Lynda Kiernan

Lynda Kiernan is Editor with GAI Media and daily contributor to GAI News. If you would like to submit a contribution for consideration please contact Ms. Kiernan at lkiernan@globalaginvesting.com

 

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