Latin America’s (LATAM) first carbon-neutral food company, Nude, has closed a Series A funding round. $5 million was raised by multiple investors, led by Vox Capital and Lever VC. Other notable participants include Endeavor Scale-Up Ventures and Mexico’s Angel Ventures. Funding brings the company’s valuation to $22.5 million. Funding will be used to increase production and develop new lines.
Nude was launched in São Paulo in December 2020. Founders Giovanna Meneghel and Alexander Appel set out to bring emissions transparency to food production. Neutralising the company’s own footprint was a priority from inception. Vox Capital leading the latest funding round represents a significant milestone. It has not invested in any food tech companies until now, historically homing in on climate change initiatives. Nude qualifies as both.
The journey to oat-based dairy
Nude is aiming to disrupt the conventional dairy sector in Brazil and beyond. It cites high levels of lactose intolerance and animal welfare as driving motivations. The company fashions itself as an answer to the Seeg Brasil-reported rising Brazilian agricultural carbon emissions directly linked to cows raised for dairy and meat.
The Good Food Institute Brazil has reported that there is potential for a plant-based surge in LATAM. It published data that shows 63 percent of the population in Brazil is looking to reduce animal product consumption. It pointed out that 35 percent suffered some form of lactose processing difficulty. Nude has been created to account for both sets of findings. The recent fundraising will allow for faster progression.
“Our objective is to scale-up operations to promote change in consumer habits and help in their transition to a low-carbon economy,” Alexander Appel, co-founder and director of operations for Nude said in a statement. “The completion of the round is important to build a solid team that supports our mission, followed by the expansion of our innovative and tasty portfolio of oat-based products. We want to reach more and more Brazilian homes.”
Nude analysed market trends and says it sees oat-based dairy as presenting more commercial potential than other plant milk options.
Making a mission the company message
Nude is the first food company in LATAM to highlight its carbon emissions on product packaging. It creates a traceable pathway from field to cup. A UN Global Compact signatory, registered B-Corp, and certified organic company, Nude has defined itself in terms of its climate-friendly credentials.
“It would be much easier to create a product and package it with a nice message, but that’s not what we believe in, so we decided to follow the path of changing small habits and the entire industry,” Nude CEO Giovanna Meneghel said in a statement. “It’s very cool to receive funding from an impact fund like Vox. This shows that we are serious about the carbon-reduction goals and that there is no time to waste to caress our increasingly fragile planet.”
Scaling up for a healthier LATAM
Nude works with domestic oat producer SL Alimentos. The two have an exclusive agreement and new funding will enable production to increase, in the first stage, to five million litres, with full capacity at 10 million litres. Five products have already been launched, flavours include chocolate, vanilla, extra calcium, original, and barista.
The oat revolution
Oats are big business. As Oatly continues to scale up and open new production facilities, flavoured milk is becoming popular. As well, chocolatiers are increasingly looking to the ingredient as a base.
Even in countries where dairy is still widely consumed, oats are beginning to take market share. Over in Australia, Wide Open Agriculture (WOA) announced it is working on what it calls the “world’s lowest carbon milk”. It fundraised to finance domestic production of homegrown oat milk, back in December. Oats used will be farmed regeneratively and used to produce OatUp products.
All images courtesy of Nude.