Before he founded the plant-based burger company Impossible Foods, Patrick Brown, who spent 25 years as a biochemistry professor at Stanford, also co-founded a Hayward, Ca.-based food company called Kite Hill that has developed numerous nut milk and cheese products that it says are healthier and more sustainable than their dairy counterparts.
Investors seem to agree. According to a new SEC filing, the now nine-year-old company is sealing up $15 million more in funding (and has at least $10 million in fresh capital locked down). The company most recently closed a round if funding last fall, including from backers General Mills, CAVU Venture Partners, and New Crop Capital, and this newest infusion should bring the company’s total funding to around $80 million, according to Crunchbase.
It’s easy to understand their enthusiasm for the space more broadly. The vegan cheese market has seen double-digit growth over the past few years, according to Nielsen data, which recently found that sales of plant-based cheese grew 41% through August of of 2018, compared with the flat sales of traditional dairy cheese. Sales of almond, soy, oat and other plant-based milks are soaring, too. According to Nielsen data, sales of plant-based milk beverages rose 9% in the year ending in June 2018, up from 3% the previous year. Meanwhile, traditional cow’s milk sales fell 6% during the same period.
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