Gathered Foods, maker of Good Catch plant-based seafood, has successfully secured $26.35 million in a B-2 bridge funding round with investments from Louis Dreyfus Co. (LDC), a merchant and processor of agricultural goods; Unovis Asset Management; Big Idea Ventures; and others. The strategic funding will enable Austin, Texas-based Gathered Foods to further drive Good Catch plant-based seafood to the forefront of the plant-based industry and raise awareness of the upward trajectory of these products’ market growth and popularity.
This latest investment follows last year’s successful Series B funding round, in which Gathered Foods secured $36.8 million. The financing permitted the brand to continue its expansion, resulting in the debut of its own state-of-the-art plant-based production facility in Heath, Ohio. The company will use this new round of funding to accelerate product innovation and significantly increase the number of Good Catch products on the market. Gathered Foods will also be able to grow its global retail footprint, starting in Europe, with further expansion on tap later this year.
“We are excited to have this important investment by LDC, a well-respected leader in the agricultural, food and ingredients space, to help fuel growth and expansion of our company,” said Gathered Foods CEO Christine Mei. “Partnering with proven companies who are innovators in their own right can only sharpen our ability to positively disrupt a nascent industry with our innovative portfolio of Good Catch products. As demand for plant-based seafood continues to rise, we look forward to further collaboration with LDC to create breakthrough opportunities.”
“Gathered Foods combines leading edge R&D and state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities and strong management, to deliver delicious plant-based products to a global market,” noted Max Clegg, head of Netherlands-based LDC’s corporate venture capital program, LDC Innovations. “We are thrilled to partner with the company, as it expands the reach of its Good Catch brand and attracts new customers to this fast-growing sector.”
Good Catch products are currently available across the East Coast of the United States, with wider distribution planned; in the United Kingdom through a partnership with Tesco; in Canada through partnerships with Loblaws and Sobeys; and in Europe at retailers in the Netherlands and Spain. Gathered Foods is also working with key European distributors to bring its Good Catch products to more consumers via strategic retail and foodservice partnerships. The brand’s offerings include single-serve, ready-to-eat pouches of plant-based tuna and frozen plant-based fish burgers, crab cakes and fish cakes.
“This round of investment signifies a milestone for both Gathered Foods and the plant-based industry as a whole,” affirmed Chris Kerr, the company’s co-founder and executive chairman. “LDC’s investment in Gathered Foods is a perfect complement to its plant-based food strategy and creates opportunities for collaboration between both companies. LDC’s global reach, supply chain management, R&D capabilities, and procurement expertise will be key to Gathered Foods’ ability to broaden its global footprint and bring new building blocks to our expanding portfolio of offerings. We are very grateful for the trust and support from LDC.”
Last year, in addition to opening its state-of-the-art facility, expanding significantly at retail and launching the frozen products, Gathered Foods established a distribution partnership with San Diego-based Bumble Bee Foods, which allowed Good Catch to be available to consumers on a larger scale via new distribution channels. The company also revealed new backing from celebrities Woody Harrelson, Shailene Woodley, Paris Hilton and Lance Bass.
Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaws is No. 13 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food retailers in North America, while Sobeys, wholly owned by Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire Co. Ltd., is No. 21 on PG's list.