Israeli plant-based yogurt company Yofix, which was awarded the final €100,000 grant by the PepsiCo’s European Nutrition Greenhouse Program in 2019, has just raised an extended $2.5 million series A funding.
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Steve Grun (left) is the CEO of Yofix. YOFIX

The funding, led by new investors, including Germany-based Muller Ventures, AG; the French Bel Group; and the U.S.-based LionTree Partners, will provide Yofix with significant leverage for attaining globe expansion of its current portfolio, with the prospect of helping it expand into other dairy-free categories.

These categories will likely include oat yogurt shakes, alternative cheeses, frozen desserts, and milk alternatives, according to Yofix CEO Steve Grun.

“Receiving the financial investment by such prominent multinational players of the dairy industry is an endorsement of trust and confidence in our products and technology,” Grun said in a prepared statement.

“This fresh influx opens the door to new possibilities. Over the next few years, we will focus strategic efforts on expanding our line of dairy alternatives … into the global market,” he added. “The prospects are boundless.”

Yofix scaled its business significantly under PepsiCo’s six-month-long mentorship program in 2018, along with nine other selected food startups: it built a new factory and launched the products nationwide in Israel, and came up with a strategic plan to expand the business internationally.

In early 2019, Yofix went on to launch its first soy-free yogurt alternative line under the Only brand made from a few natural ingredients, such as lentils and sesame, to achieve clean-label.

The company noted, typically, gums and thickeners are added to dairy-free yogurts to stabilize them, but its Bio 5 formula, which uses without added sugars, preservatives or colors, has successfully created similar texture and stability of yogurt.

The rapid growth of Yofix is primarily driven by consumers who are recognizing yogurt as an immune-boosting source of beneficial prebiotics, it said. Many of them, who are also lactose-intolerant or lactose-sensitive, are increasingly conforming to vegan and flexitarian diets and are seeking plant-based offerings.

“The rise of flexitarian has led to strong, growing demand for plant-based products worldwide, the head of France at LionTree, Fatine Layt, said. “Yofix has a unique positioning, offering 100% clean-label, plant-based yogurt and a promising platform for delivering not only yogurts and drinkable yogurts, but a complete portfolio of real dairy replacements.

She added: “More importantly, [Yofix] hits all the desired organoleptic marks. We are enthusiastic to witness its next steps and facilitate its growth through our global network.”

The continued growth of plant-based and dairy-free foods is attracting more investors to the sector. Bel Group, which enters the category for the first time, said it is getting closer to new players in the market through its Yofix investment.

Caroline Sorlin, plant-based acceleration unit’s general manager at the cheese marketer, said: “Taking part in the Yofix adventure … gives concrete expression to our strategy of combining the best of dairy and plant-based products.”

Mordor Intelligence predicts the revenues of the global dairy alternatives market will grow at a 9.85% CAGR between 2016 and 2024, with Asia Pacific being the largest geographical segment of the market.

As one generation of dairy farmers see retirement on the horizon, who are the next generation farmers taking over the responsibility of feeding the world?

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