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Growth equity firm JMK invests in non-dairy cheesemaker

Growth equity fund JMK Consumer Growth Partners has led Series B investment in Miyoko’s Kitchen, a producer of non-dairy vegan cheese and butter alternatives.

Growth equity fund JMK Consumer Growth Partners has led a Series B minority investment into Miyoko’s Kitchen, a producer of non-dairy vegan cheese and butter alternatives.

The investment, which included existing investors Obvious Ventures and Stray Dog Capita, will be used to complete a new manufacturing facility in Petaluma, California, as well as expand product offerings and distribution capabilities.

The new facility will provide for production capacity that is 30 times the current level, according to a statement from Miyoko’s. The company, founded in 2014 by vegan chef Miyoko Schinner, currently supplies products to supermarket chains Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Wegmans, Raley’s, Trader Joe’s and others.

The brand is one of many catering to shifting consumer demands for products focused on health, wellness, the environment and animal welfare, attracting investment both from PE firms as well as food companies. 

Recent private equity investments targeting these markets include Graham Partners’ purchase of Mercer Foods, Pulmone’s acquisition of Vitasoy and Clearlake Capital’s purchase of That’s How We Roll.

Moody’s recently told Agri Investor that the trend could stiffen competition between PE firms and large food companies who are aiming for add-on acquisitions. Rabobank also pointed to global companies targeting these investments in December

Among these, Tyson Foods acquired a 5 percent stake in plant-based protein provider Beyond Meat; General Mills’ paid $820 million for Annie’s Homegrown; and Hershey’s purchased of natural chocolate snack provider barkTHINS and KRAVE Pure Foods, to name a few.

JMK provides capital and value-added partnership to emerging consumer product brands. Previous investments included skincare brand Supergoop! and Babo Botanicals, a natural personal care products brand.

“The JMK team’s understanding of food trends and their appreciation for true innovation in the food space impressed me immediately,” said Schinner. “What JMK saw in Miyoko’s was not just a food brand, but a company dedicated to a mission of human, environmental and animal health.”