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March 28, 2022

Tiger Brands VC fund makes debut with Herbivore Earthfoods investment

Cape Town-based Herbivore Earthfoods was set up in 2014 by Chanel Grantham.

By Simon Harvey

South African FMCG stalwart Tiger Brands has made the first investment through its newly-launched venture fund, picking plant-based food firm Herbivore Earthfoods.

Publicly-listed Tiger Brands sold its value-added meat operations in 2020, along with its protein subsidiary Enterprise Foods. That deal came two years after a listeria outbreak rocked the business.

Tiger has taken a minority stake in the Cape Town-based business. The size of the holding in Herbivore Earthfoods nor the amount paid by Tiger Brands were not disclosed. The fund was launched last year with an initial capital outlay of about ZAR100m (US$6.7m) to provide “early access to some potential growth opportunities”.

Secha Capital, an impact investor and private-equity firm in Johannesburg, has partnered with Tiger’s venture fund in the deal.

Herbivore Earthfoods was set up in 2014 by Chanel Grantham and is headed up by director Davey du Plessis. The company manufactures dairy alternatives such as cheese, coconut milks and desserts, along with meat-free burgers, sausages and mince. Spreads, chocolate bars and cakes also feature in the portfolio.

Barati Mahloele, the director of Tiger Brands’ venture fund, said: “Our partnership with the Herbivore team will involve leveraging each other’s combined strengths to achieve their growth strategy and to push the boundaries of an affordable and healthy alternative product offering to consumers.”

Led by CEO Noel Doyle, Tiger Brands is engaged in food and beverages, commodities, home care and personal care. It owns the Albany bakery and Cresta rice brands, and the Beacon Allsorts confectionery line, amongst others.

In the year to 31 September, Tiger Brands generated revenues of ZAR31bn and operating income of ZAR2.2bn. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) amounted to 1,127 South African cents.

The investor partners added they “will use their considerable experience in the food and beverage sector to help grow and scale Herbivore Earthfoods, with one of its objectives being to make plant-based foods more accessible and affordable for the South African consumer”.

Grantham said: “At Herbivore we see plant-based as the future of food, and we pride ourselves as being at the forefront of plant-based food innovation in South Africa. More consumers are realising the benefits of a plant-based diet.”

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