This marks another instance in 2017 when a dairy-focused company is investing in the booming plant-based ‘milk’ category, the other being Danone’s acquisition of WhiteWave.
According to a joint statement, Good Karma will continue to operate as a Boulder-based independent company led by its existing leadership team. As part of the investment agreement, Dean Foods will support Good Karma's growth plans in the conventional retail channel through its experienced sales team.
“Diversification to higher-margin, consumer-demanded products is a key focus for Dean Foods. The plant-based beverage category is increasingly crowded,” a spokesperson at Deans Foods Company told FoodNavigator-USA. “Finding established brands such as Good Karma to support and grow is a way for us to enter the plant-based category, yet limit the risk associated with the resources needed to invest in launching a new brand in this space.”
Plant-based: A billion dollar industry
Plant-based beverages (also contentiously known as plant ‘milk’) are booming. The plant-based category as a whole was worth $4.9bn last year, according to SPINS estimates, which looked at everything from cheese alternatives to refrigerated nut milks.
The category is growing rapidly and has its own trade association, the Plant Based Foods Association, which launched in March of last year.
"We love Good Karma as a fit for Dean Foods as we focus on diversification both within and beyond dairy," said Dean Foods CEO Ralph Scozzafava about the investment, details of which are undisclosed before Dean Foods’ earnings call tomorrow.
"This opportunity with Good Karma is a way for us to build a platform for a larger plant-based portfolio. The management team has deep category expertise, the brand is a disruptor in the plant-based, non-dairy space, and we believe we can support its growth," he added.