General Mills has invested in another fledgling US food group, with the giant’s 301 Inc. arm moving to back Kite Hill, a maker of nut-based dairy products.

California-based Kite Hill said today (20 May) it had closed an investment round worth US$18m. Kite Hill said “lead investment” had come from General Mills and US private-equity firm CAVU Venture Partners.

Matthew Sade, Kite Hill’s CEO, said the money from General Mills and CAVU Venture Partners would help the business launch more products and “reach the ever-growing number of consumers who are incorporating plant-based foods into their diets”.

Sade added: “These investments provide additional confirmation that Kite Hill has quickly established itself as the gold standard in great tasting plant-based dairy,” said Matthew Sade, Kite Hill CEO. “Our products – from cheese to yogurt to entrées – are quickly becoming the bridge for consumers who want access to better-for-you products without having to trade off great taste.”

The investment in Kite Hill is the fourth made by General Mills through its 301 Inc. division since the turn of the year.

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“What sets Kite Hill apart is its ability to innovate and crack the code on developing great-tasting products that appeal to consumers seeking dairy alternatives,” John Haugen, the General Mills vice president leading the 301 Inc. arm, said.

CAVU Venture Partners has already invested alongside General Mills in US cottage cheese maker Good Culture. Earlier this month, it emerged CAVU Venture Partners had also backed US jerky maker Chef’s Cut Real Jerky.

Clayton Christopher, co-founder and general partner at CAVU Ventures, said the firm wanted to help make Kite Hill “a household name”. Christopher added: “The science behind the products, amazing taste and better-for-you nutritional profile are incredibly compelling.”