PINE RIDGE, S.D.–Native American Natural Foods (“NANF”), an innovative, Native American owned and operated company that produces the highly acclaimed TANKA Bar and a line of meat and fruit products, announced today the closing of a multi-million-dollar equity capital investment. The effort will support NANF’s growth as it seeks to reclaim its position as the original, award-winning, highly popular bison and berry snack bar that replicates a time-honored recipe of their Lakota ancestors.
“I welcome our investors who have the courage and innovation to break the economic isolation of the reservation and move with us into a new economic future,” said Dawn Sherman, CEO of NANF. “We celebrate the vision that will return the bison to the lands, lives and economies of Native communities.”
Strategically investing in businesses in communities of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) is part of the financial activism currently being advocated nationwide. The Candide Group led NANF’s capital raise on behalf of the Libra Social Investment Fund. “We saw in NANF a business that has all the ingredients needed to be successful: superior products with a loyal customer base, and a community of employees, suppliers and partners for whom failure is simply not an option,” said Aner Ben-Ami, Founding Partner of the Candide Group. “We were excited to partner with the NANF team, and structure an investment that will help the company realize its potential while supporting its mission of creating wealth and ownership for Native communities and ranchers, and building a Native-led brand committed to traditional values and regenerative agriculture.”
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for investors to make a big difference in the lives of others by attacking the root cause of generational poverty,” said Sherman. “For our Native Communities to see how the business and the mission can regain its original role as the leader in the meat snacking category while we continue to attract like-minded partners and investors is exciting.”
Clearinghouse CDFI has been investing in TANKA since 2011. “Being involved with Native American Natural Foods has been a privilege and a humbling honor,” said Douglas Bystry, President and CEO of Clearinghouse CDFI. “The DNA of our capital pairs well with the DNA of NANF’s enterprise. The founders, leaders and partners of NANF, at the core, have blended a proud and resilient heritage with a disciplined business culture that is intentional about achieving sustainable profits and mission goals. Wealth building in Indian Country is far reaching and we want to be there with NANF each step of the way. We are proud to be part of a group of committed lenders, investors, partners, suppliers and customers who have come together because of NANF’s people, purpose and, of course, its awesome products.”
NANF’s TANKA meat and fruit products come in three smoky-sweet varieties including: Slow Smoked Original, Spicy Pepper and Apple Orange Peel, that retail for under $5. The centuries-old traditional recipe is unique to Native Americans and is often referred to as wasna or pemmican. It is made with prairie-fed bison, tart-sweet cranberries and Native American grown wild rice. The products offer seven grams of protein, are minimally processed, with no nitrites or nitrates, antibiotics or added hormones. The bars, bites and sticks are free of gluten, MSG, nuts, trans fats, soy and lactose and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
To expand NANF’s customer base and geography, Niman Ranch, the nation’s leading sustainable meat brand with over 750 independent farmers and ranchers, has joined NANF’s growth strategy as a technical advisor and partner with a hands-on approach that includes senior staff working directly with NANF. “The financial independence of the Native owned and operated TANKA goes to the heart of our mission to support sustainable agriculture and resilient rural communities,” said Chris Oliviero, General Manager, Niman Ranch. “By providing operating, marketing, communication and financial support, we will help ensure added value for this important mission and purpose driven business.”
“Congratulations to the team at Native American Natural Foods. This has been a long time coming. We are excited to officially be a part of Karlene, Mark and Dawn’s vision and look forward to helping introduce TANKA to more consumers nationwide,” said Bob Dineen, CEO of Rocky Mountain Natural Meats, a supporter of the company since its inception.
“NANF is one of those quintessential companies whose success benefits the larger community. NANF’s commitments to Native ownership, to the land and restoration of traditional bison, to healthy foods and sustainable practices, as well as to their Native cultural values, makes NANF an important leader in a resilient, regenerative economy,” said Ann Whittemore, Highlands Associates’ Director of Impact Investments. Within the last two years, Highlands directly, through its DAF (3:23 Fund) and in partnership with its sister organizations, has consciously directed its efforts to Indigenous, Black, and other under-funded communities of color, resulting in investments in over 30 Black and Native-owned and/or led businesses, CDFIs, equity funds, and non-profits. “They’ve put in the work, weathered some storms, and have come out with strong partnerships and leadership, an in-demand product, and more financial viability than ever before. Highlands’ 3:23 Fund is proud to partner with NANF and looks forward to the future growth and success of this company!”
“We created the TANKA Bar and now other products, with a vision of building a reservation-based brand capable of helping to build a new economic future for the Lakota people,” said Mark Tilsen, co-founder of NANF. “This new structure with our investors and partners will help make this shared vision a reality.”
Native American Natural Foods, LLC, is focused on creating a family of nationally branded buffalo-based food products that are delicious and that promote a Native American way of wellness that feeds mind, body, and spirit. By adding value to traditional Native food products, using modern scientific methods and the least amount of processing possible, Native American Natural Foods innovates value-added products for the U.S. consumer marketplace. The TANKA Bar was responsible for creating the first meat snacking category in retail markets. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, please visit NANF’s website at TANKAbar.com.
Candide Group directs capital away from an extractive global economy towards investments dedicated to social justice and sustainability. In other words, we’re making #realmoneymoves and changing culture.
Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution (Clearinghouse CDFI)
Clearinghouse CDFI addresses unmet credit needs throughout the U.S. and in Indian Country through direct lending, equity investments, and financial assistance. For over 23 years, Clearinghouse CDFI has helped bridge the gap between conventional lending standards and the needs of low-income, distressed, and communities of color. Clearinghouse CDFI is also a B Corp—a certification received from the nonprofit B Lab. B Corps are companies who meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and use business as a force for good. More information is available at: www.ccdfi.com.
Highlands Associates is a socially-responsible private investor based in California. We invest toward a green economy, in non-extractive sectors such as sustainable agriculture and forestry, local food systems, renewable energy, and local community-building enterprises.
Niman Ranch is the largest farmer and rancher network in the Western Hemisphere to be 100 percent third-party-certified under the Certified Humane® program. Their community of more than 740 small, independent U.S. family farmers and ranchers adhere to some of the strictest animal welfare protocols in the industry. Follow Niman Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rocky Mountain Natural Meats works with family-owned bison ranches throughout the West to produce America’s leading bison brand Great Range Premium Bison, sold in premier grocery stores across America.
This press release is for informational purposes only and shall not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of NANF nor shall there be any sale in any jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release and other statements made from time to time by NANF may contain express and implied statements relating to NANF’s future financial condition, results of operations, corporate objectives, and other financial and business matters, which are considered forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are necessarily speculative and speak only as of the date made, and are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, all of which may change over time. Actual results could differ materially from those expected or implied by such forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties which could cause NANF’s actual results to differ materially and adversely from such forward-looking statements include (but are not limited to) economic conditions affecting the industry in which NANF operates; economic, political and competitive forces affecting NANF’s business; NANF’s ability to successfully execute its business plan; NANF’s ability to identify and address risks as such risks arise; and that management’s analysis of these risks and factors could be incorrect, and/or that the strategies developed to address them could be unsuccessful. Any statements made that are not historical facts should be considered to be forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. NANF undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements or to make any public announcement when NANF considers forward-looking statements to no longer be accurate, whether as a result of new information of future events, except as may be required by applicable law or regulation.