More of a good thing

Nuts For Cheese closes $5.35-million financing round to expand manufacturing and distribution capabilities  

Photo: Nuts For Cheeses founder and CEO, Margaret Coons

LONDON’S NUTS FOR CHEESE announced on Wednesday a $5.35-million round of funding led by Calgary-based Forage Capital Partners along with experienced CPG (consumer packaged goods) veterans Mike Fata and Dror Balshine.

Founded in 2015 by vegan chef, Margaret Coons, Nuts For Cheese manufacturers its complete line of fermented cashew-based cheeses and butters with house-made cultures in a certified organic facility on Pacific Court. According to the company, the investment will go towards capital expenditure for equipment and facility enhancements to support the rapidly growing consumer demand as well as towards key hires, innovation and marketing initiatives. The company will also be implementing a board of directors led by Mike Fata as chairman.

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“From the early days I’ve worked hard to surround myself with the right partners,” says Margaret Coons, Nuts For Cheese founder and CEO. “It’s been such a journey, from a rented commercial kitchen to building out our current 25,000-square-foot facility. What once looked huge to me is now quickly becoming ready for more expansion. This investment comes at a perfect time for us to be able to keep pace with our growth and I couldn’t be happier partnering with a company like Forage, which has extensive experience in the food space and such an incredible team.”

The announcement follows news from earlier this month of an announced deal with U.S. grocery chain Sprouts Farmers Market, a distribution expansion which puts Nuts For Cheese products on store shelves in all 50 states. The vegan cheesemaker says it is shipping over 80,000 units a month and has already breached the million-unit mark for 2022 ― a 40 per cent increase over 2021.

More of a good thing nuts for cheese FinancingPhoto: The Nuts For Cheese production facility is located on Pacific Court

“Nuts For Cheese is exactly the type of creative and innovative company that Forage loves to invest in,” adds Jim Taylor of Forage Capital Partners. The firm is one of the country’s most experienced agriculture and food sector investors, having managed over $500 million in commitments to the industry in both growth equity and subordinated debt. “Forage is really excited to invest in a leading vegan cheese company that provides consumers with a real food alternative to traditional cheeses.”

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According to Nielsen data, the non-dairy cheese category is growing 21 per cent, fuelled by an increasing number of consumers adding more plant-based products to their baskets. Per Spins data, 62 per cent of or U.S. households (or 79 million) are now buying plant-based products.

Since its founding days sold at farmers’ markets, Nuts For Cheese has quickly expanded into more than 1,900 retail outlets in Canada, including Sobey’s, Fortinos and Save On Foods, and almost 2,000 outlets in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market, independent chains with the most recent national launch into Sprouts Farmer’s Market. More of a good thing nuts for cheese Financing

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