Gathered Foods, the US-based maker of seafood-alternative brand Good Catch, said it is eyeing an “aggressive roll-out” of new products in Europe this year after announcing another tranche of funding.
The Ohio-based business has attracted “bridge funding” of more than US$26m, with venture fund and accelerator Big Idea Ventures and agribusiness giant Louis Dreyfus Co. backing the company for the first time.
Last year, Gathered Foods announced funding from a group of celebrities that included Cheers and Hunger Games actor Woody Harrelson. That investment – for an undisclosed amount – came two months after a Series B round of more than $32m, which included backing from packaged-food majors General Mills and Maple Leaf Foods.
“Bridge financing is used to bridge the gap between investments to allow for companies to continue to grow and produce additional products in advance of their next round of funding. As we are rapidly growing within the US in restaurant service and retailers nationwide, this investment will support that growth,” Gathered Foods CEO Christine Mei, the former Coca-Cola executive who joined the business last year, told just-food.
Gathered Foods launched the Good Catch brand in Spain and the Netherlands last year, which, after the UK, meant the company is present in three markets in Europe. "We expect an aggressive rollout of new products in the UK and EU in 2021," Mei said. "We are working with various retail partners to secure new listings but unfortunately due to agreements we can't disclose who is in the pipeline just yet."
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The market for plant-based seafood is growing in the US and Europe but remains small. Activity is starting to build in Asia, where a clutch of companies are developing or have recently launched products.
"We've had our eyes on the Asia market for some time now and are fully committed to a learning strategy there this year," Mei said. "We're excited to explore how we can satisfy Asian consumers with Good Catch's exceptional taste, texture, and comparable protein. Plant-based seafood in Asia is a quickly-emerging category. We look forward to establishing the Good Catch brand in Asia as a key pillar in our international development plan."
Gathered Foods has now raised more than $70m in funding rounds, added Mei, who pointed to what she saw as the benefits of getting Big Idea Ventures and Louis Dreyfus on board.
"This is our first investment partnership with Louis Dreyfus Company, a well-respected leader in the agricultural, food and ingredients space. We value having them as an investor to help sharpen our ability to positively disrupt a nascent industry with our innovative portfolio of Good Catch products. Also, Big Idea Ventures is a new investor in our company, and they have direct connections in distribution that will help us grow our footprint."
Mei declined to disclose Gathered Foods' annual sales or profits. Asked by how much the company's sales may have grown in 2020, she said: "I'm not able to share sales information for our company at this point, but I can say that we have reason to be incredibly optimistic about the future of plant-based seafood in the marketplace, and of Good Catch as a leader in that space."