Jack & Annie’s Closes $23 Million Series B to Expand ‘the Next Generation of Plant-Based Meat’: Jackfruit
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Leading vegan frozen food brand Jack & Annie’s has announced the closing of its series B funding round. Pulling in $23 million, the funding is led by Creadev, Desert Bloom, Wheatsheaf, and existing investors Beta Angeles and Investco.
Despite only launching into retail less than a year ago, Jack & Annie’s is now the third-largest brand in the frozen food category overall, and leading the pack in the natural frozen nuggets category with its vegan jackfruit nuggets, the brand says.
Jack & Annie’s was founded by Annie Ryu, who’s also the founder of the Jackfruit Company and Global Village Fruit. Ryu founded GVF in 2011 after discovering jackfruit while working in India as a pre-med student. She helped bring it to the U.S. and build the jackfruit market. Jackfruit is the core ingredient in all of Jack & Annie’s products.
“We are excited that our investors are partnering with us to create the next generation of plant-based—real foods, from a real plant. They are experienced, connected investors who share our vision and values – to transform the global food system for the good of people and planet,” Ryu said in a statement. “We’ve known Creadev and Desert Bloom for many years and are extremely excited to take these strong relationships to the next level, joining hands as shareholders. With their help, we are committed to continuing to craft delicious foods that deliver the benefits of plants, improving the health of our bodies, the health of the planet, and the livelihoods of our farmers.”
The jackfruit supply chain
According to the brand, nearly 70 percent of jackfruit goes unused; Jack & Annie’s helps create a supply chain for the fruit, decreasing waste and increasing revenue for India’s farming communities. The brand says it currently supports as much as 40 percent of the income for 1,000 farming families across India.
The new funding will help the brand to expand its footprint, with additional U.S. distribution across retail including natural food and club stores, as well as in foodservice channels. The products are currently sold in 1,500 retailers including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Meijer, Wegman’s, Hannaford, Target, and Giant.
“Annie and her team are dedicated to making a real positive impact, from partnering directly with farmers to formulating excellent, nutritious whole plant foods to reduce meat consumption. Building a new food system for the future in a fast-growing plant-based market, prioritizing doing what’s right versus what is easy, convinced all of Jack & Annie’s mission-driven investors”, said Delphine Descamps, Managing Director of Creadev.
“We are thrilled to partner with Annie and her dynamic team. Jack & Annie’s, simply put, is unique in the marketplace. Unlike other brands, most of which are highly processed, Jack & Annie’s alternative meat products are made from jackfruit—a whole food that has tremendous nutritional value. We believe the adoption of these products will help improve consumer health, reduce animal production, promote regenerative agricultural practices and add incremental income to farmers,” said Sohel Shikari, co-founder of Desert Bloom.
Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. It can grow as large as 40 pounds. It grows across India and Southeast Asia. The fruit is nutritious, containing a range of nutrients including vitamins C, B2, B3, B6, B9, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.
When the unripe “meat” of the jackfruit is cooked, it takes on the consistency of pulled pork. It’s low in sugar, so it works more like a vegetable or a meat product than a fruit. The sweet ripe fruit can be eaten fresh.