Dive Brief Explanation:
- Gathered Foods, Good Catch’s plant-based seafood maker, closed a The B-2 bridge funding round is valued at $ 26.35 million. Investors in this round include the global agricultural commodity superpower Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), as well as Unovis Asset Management and Big Idea Ventures.
- The funds will be used to increase innovation, increase the number of products on the market and help Good Catch grow internationally. The expansion is slated to begin in Europe, and further rollouts are planned for later in 2021.
- Good Catch had a big year of fundraising and growth in 2020. It raised $ 36.8 million in an extended Series B round, which netted investors from Big Food – including Greenleaf Foods and General Mills 301 Inc. – and entertainment world. It’s also launched new product, open a factory and rent a New CEO.
In recent years, Good Catch has gone from a small-scale startup to a leading player in space. The plant-based seafood maker has attracted major partnerships, large funds and respected supporters, and strengthened its long-term production capabilities with custom-made factories.
This latest funding round continues that track record. LDC is one of the world leaders in commodity agriculture, sourcing and trading. This funding can help Good Catch not only find the ingredients it needs around the world, but also provide the opportunity to create manufacturing and distribution breakthroughs around the world.
“Partnering with proven companies who are innovators in their own right can only sharpen our ability to positively disrupt nascent industries with our innovative portfolio of Good Catch products,” Gathered Foods CEO Christine Mei said in a statement.
Although LDCs are active in the commodities and ingredients business, they are not yet a large financier of other food companies. According to Crunchbase, that is just prior investment high tech Benson Hill Materials Company. Gathered Foods co-founder and Executive Chair, Chris Kerr, said in a statement that this investment is an important milestone for the plant-based industry because of LDC’s global reach, procurement expertise, R&D capabilities and supply chain management know-how.
Gathered Foods and Good Catch have taken advantage of other partnerships, both formed through funding rounds and deals. Last year, the company announced a partnership with tuna titan Bumble Bee, which allows Good Catch to leverage its sales, distribution and logistics expertise to get plant-based products on grocery store shelves. Kerr said in an interview last year that this partnership is responsible for all consumers who can find Good Catch products in their local supermarkets – and especially in the canned seafood aisle.
Other key partnerships through last year’s funding include Greenleaf Foods, which is the parent company of the plant-based meat brand Lightlife, and General Mills’ 301 Inc., which also works with Beyond Meat. These funders also have expertise in international expansion and the plant-based meat market. Kerr said last year they were helping plan expansion and fund new factories and launches.
The company’s further innovations remain to be seen. Good Catch launched three frozen plant-based seafood products last year – New England Style Plant Crab Cake, Thai Style Plant Fish Cake, and Classic Plant Fish Burger. These products were not breaded, which Kerr said at the time was a way to put their quality forward; Breading is a good way to hide flaws. With the proof of concept for plant-based fish and crab already on the market, maybe battered vegetable fish skewers could be the next one. Companies may also be interested in other forms of seafood, including salmon or shrimp.
New products can also be developed specifically for restaurants. The partnership with Bumble Bee gives Good Catch access to Anova Food, a giant tuna-owned supplier that sells superior seafood to food services. Kerr said last year plant-based companies would take advantage of this relationship, but had been waiting for the launch due to the coronavirus pandemic. As the dining room began to reopen restaurants and consumers look forward to eating out, more plant-based seafood options on the menu will be timed appropriately.
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