CEI Ventures participates in financing to restart former Danone factory as a new plant-based dairy
Naugatuck, Connecticut – September 5, 2019 — Culture Fresh Foods today announced it has completed an $11 million Series A round of financing. CEI Ventures (CVI) co-invested along with FreshTracks Capital and several angel investors. The investment will enable the company to reimagine and restart a former Danone-owned milk-based dairy as a new plant-based processing facility.
Plant-based milks, yogurts, and creamers are increasing in popularity as consumers shift from traditional dairy products for a variety of reasons, including taste and dietary restrictions. Demand for these products is so great, it is outstripping supply as production capacity for plant-based dairy products is limited. Culture Fresh Foods is poised to capitalize on this growing market by manufacturing products with ingredients such as oats and almonds – initially for private label customers and eventually under its own brand.
Culture Fresh Foods is led by serial, social entrepreneur Tom Moffitt, the co-founder and former CEO of Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Vermont. He grew that business to $140 million in revenue in five years. CEI Ventures’ colleagues at CEI Capital Management worked with Moffitt to use New Market Tax Credits for financing the construction of that dairy processing plant. Prior to Commonwealth, Moffitt worked for Ahold, one of the largest grocery retailers in the world, and was a cofounder and president of HMS Worldsupply, a company focused on product development and branded beverage distribution in the Midwest.
“We are bringing to fruition an innovative concept that taps into the fastest growing segments of the nondairy drinks and cultured foods business,” Moffitt said. “With this seed capital we can move into an ideal facility and accelerate the time to ramp up production. We are deeply committed to our new community and are pleased to work with CVI.”
The Naugatuck facility, with its specialized equipment, is an ideal site for the reimagined business. Culture Fresh Foods intends to hire many of the employees that lost their jobs when the prior plant closed, with competitive pay and benefits.
“Culture Fresh Foods is the right idea at the right time,” said Chandler Jones, Principal of CEI Ventures. “Tom’s proven experience, coupled with a robust consumer market, gives us great confidence for the company’s success. Sweetening the deal is that the company’s hiring forecast fits our mission of building an economy that works for everyone.”
About Culture Fresh Foods:
Culture Fresh Foods is focused on the future of food, people, and the environment. We create and produce a range of Non-Dairy Spoonables, Spreadables & Drinkables in a highly efficient, 100% plant-based, SQF certified food processing facility. Our focus is quality, customers and, most importantly, great tasting foods. We embrace a robust corporate social responsibility program that encompasses employee welfare, dedication to environmental sustainability and proactive resource stewardship. Learn more at http://www.culturefreshfoods.com/
About CEI and CVI
Coastal Enterprises (CEI) and CEI Ventures Inc. (CVI) integrate financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions to increase good jobs, advance environmentally sustainable enterprises, and grow more broadly shared prosperity in Maine and other rural regions. CVI is the venture capital subsidiary of CEI and manages socially responsible venture capital funds. CEI and CVI are committed to building an economy that works for everyone, particularly people with low incomes, women, minorities and people of color. Learn more at www.ceimaine.org and www.ceiventures.com.