Large CPG players, including Coca-Cola and Grupo Bimbo, have dominated headlines during the last week of October with major transactions fueling their further expansions into the health and wellness territory, while emerging brands appealing to environmentally-conscious shoppers continued to ramp up their sustainability efforts. Please see our headlines roundup for the last week of October below:

Major M&A activities:

  • Coca-Cola is close to buying a controlling stake in the sports-drink maker BodyArmor in a deal that values the company at about $8 billion. A transaction, which could be finalized in coming weeks, would accelerate sales in Coca-Cola’s hydration, sports and coffee segment. – Bloomberg
  • Multinational bakery company, Grupo Bimbo, has acquired Popcornopolis from NexPhase Capital for an undisclosed sum. William Blair acted as financial advisor to NexPhase and Popcornopolis on the transaction, while Lowenstein Sandler LLP served as legal advisor. The California-based gourmet popcorn company has reached nearly $72 million in revenue to-date driven by record e-commerce growth, according to PitchBook, and is now operating under Grupo Bimbo’s U.S. snacks division Barcel USA upon the transaction. The deal value is approximately $200 million, according to industry insiders. – Forbes
  • 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, a leading provider of gifts designed to help customers express, connect, and celebrate, has expanded its product offerings across the growing “better for you” food category with the acquisition of Vital Choice, a trusted provider of exceptional quality premium wild-caught seafood and sustainably farmed shellfish, pastured proteins, organic foods, and marine-source nutritional supplements. With this acquisition, the Company adds more than 400 new “better for you” offerings to its product assortment, including frozen, canned, and smoked wild fish, shellfish, organic grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, organic soups, organic fruits, seasonings, oils and broths, fish-based pet treats, omega-3 and other supplements, plus seaweed and kelp-based items. – Press Release
  • Above Food, a vertically-integrated plant-based foods company, has entered into an agreement to acquire Atlantic Natural Foods and its portfolio of shelf-stable, plant-based food brands Loma Linda, TUNO, and Neat for an estimated $30 million. Above Food, which owns its entire supply chain of specialty plant-based ingredients (fava, chickpeas, soy, and oat) as well as a number of plant-based food brands including recently-acquired Only Oats and Culcherd, spotted an opportunity to expand its plant-based set to offer more shelf-stable meal solutions for consumers, an area where ANF has years of expertise and knowledge. – FoodNavigator-USA
  • Eat Well Investment Group Inc. has agreed to definitive terms to acquire a preferred equity position in PataFoods, Inc. dba Amara Organic Foods, a fast-growing North American plant-based baby food brand, with an option to acquire an additional 29% of the shares of Amara at a $100 million valuation. – Press Release

Increased sustainability in CPG:

  • Plant-based milk brand JOI, plant-based milk brand has fully transitioned to fully sustainable product packaging, with 100% recyclable glass jars and fully compostable pouches for its clean label plant-based concentrates. This new sustainable packaging leads to a 90% reduction in packaging waste with a zero waste carbon footprint, all while achieving a radically better taste and exponentially higher nutritional content than other options on the market. The compostable pouches for the JOI Oat Milk Powder are the first-ever dairy alternative packaging that will completely decompose and are safe for home and community composting. – Press Release
  • TBH (To Be Honest), a new sustainability-focused snacking brand that promises more protein and hazelnut than Nutella, and is made without palm oil, will officially launch online via DTC in November. Schnapp teamed up with Umana Venture Studios about two years ago to create a healthy alternative to the traditional hazelnut chocolate spread after realizing that harvesting palm oil is a leading cause of deforestation and habitat destruction. – Forbes

Noticeable fundraising events: 

  • Chicago-based startup Aqua Cultured Foods – which is carving out new territory in the seafood alternatives space with a Non-GMO fermentation-based production platform capable of delivering high-protein ‘whole cuts’ of fungi-based seafood – has closed an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round of $2.1m. The funding – from investors including Supply Change Capital, Aera VC, Sustainable Food Ventures, Hanfield Venture Partners, Lifely VC, Conscience VC, Kingfisher Capital, Hyde Park Angels, Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, and Big Idea Ventures – will help the firm test market its wares on a small scale next year. – FoodNavigator-USA
  • N!CK’S, the Swedish-born, global food-tech innovator of healthy and indulgent snacks and ice cream , today announced it has raised $100 million in Series C funding. The round is being led by Kinnevik, AmbrosiaInvestments and Temasek, with Gullspang, an early investor in Oatly, Peak Bridge, Capagro and Nicoya filling out the round. The funding will be used to further bolster North American and European growth, through expanding their product portfolio and doubling N!CK’S store count in 2022. N!CK’S will also make significant investments in R&D efforts concentrated on innovative solutions that make the world a healthier place. Other priorities include hiring key talent and strategic marketing initiatives. – Press Release
  • Daring Foods closed on $65 million in Series C funding Wednesday as the plant-based chicken startup launches its products into 3,000 Walmart stores nationally. Daring offers four plant-based chicken products, including Original, Lemon & Herb, Cajun and Breaded, that looks, cooks and tastes like its chicken counterpart. – TechCrunch
  • Plant-based meat producer Impossible Foods is in talks to raise about $500 million at a valuation of $7 billion higher than its chief rival: Beyond Meat’s market value was roughly $6.2 billion as of midday Thursday. – Bloomberg