Jack & Annies, a sustainable, alternative animal meat brand made from jackfruit, announced Tuesday that it has received $ 23 million in Series B funding.
The round was jointly chaired by Creadev and Desert Bloom and included the participation of Wheatsheaf and existing investors Beta Angels and InvestEco. Company founder and CEO Annie Ryu told TechCrunch that the company made no announcements of previous funding rounds and declined to disclose the company’s total increase to date, but said that round was “more than we accumulated in all previous rounds to have”.
The idea for jackfruit products came to Ryu 10 years ago when she was a medical student at Harvard. She and her brother had started a company and met Jackfruit while on a trip to India.
Ryu learned that the fruit was drought resistant and high yielding and even though people ate as much as they wanted, she found that 70% of the jackfruit went unused. With global health in mind, Ryu had the vision to end poverty in this area by generating an income for the farmers by providing a market for the fruit. Today, her brands partner with 1,000 farming families on 10 to 40% of their income, she said.
Then she set out to “develop the largest jackfruit supply chain”. The first brand to emerge in 2015 was The Jackfruit Co. to offer foods that took advantage of the “meaty” texture of the fruit and, through research and development, a meaty taste but full of nutrients, protein and fiber. The Jackfruit Co., based in Boulder, Colorado, sells about a dozen products and is primarily aimed at vegetarians. It started selling in Whole Foods and has expanded since then.
Now with Jack & Annie’s launched in 2020, Ryu calls it a “super accessible brand” that offers 10 easy-to-make frozen foods with meatier uses like sprinkles, meatballs, and nuggets. Frozen items cost $ 4.99 to $ 5.99 and chilled items cost between $ 6.99 and $ 7.99.
In the past few years, several other herbal product companies have sprung up that use jackfruit as a basic ingredient. Last year based in Singapore Karana raised $ 1.7 million develop vegetable pork from the fruits. Uptons Naturals makes meat alternatives from the fruits, as well as The very good butchers and jungle.
In less than a year, the brand expanded to more than 1,500 retail locations including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Meijer, Wegman’s, Hannaford, Target and Giant. It’s also the third largest frozen brand in the plant-based category and the top nugget in the natural channel for the 12 weeks ending October 3, according to SPINS Natural Channel, Ryu said.
The company continues to double its sales annually and will use the new funding to continue building partnerships and new innovations, expanding its on-shelf presence, and increasing overall sales.
“Jackfruit has amazing ability to mimic beef, pork, chicken and seafood, so we are at the tip of the iceberg with what we can show,” added Ryu. “Part of our leadership role is to be an innovation partner for large customers. So if they want to take advantage of the meaty texture and make meat dishes more delicious with a clear package of ingredients, we can work with them in our R&D center. in Boulder. “