Munich-based Planet A Foods, a trailblazer in delivering sustainable and nutritious ingredients to the food industry, has successfully concluded a €14.2 million Series A funding round. The funds will be instrumental in propelling mass-market expansion, following a significant partnership with a Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) giant in 2023, and making their B2B foodtech startup’s cocoa alternative, ChoViva, even more accessible.
Led by Europe’s prominent climate venture fund, World Fund, the Series A round saw participation from key investors, including Omnes Capital, Cherry Ventures, Mudcake, Nucleus Capital, TriplePoint Capital, Feast Ventures, and others. Planet A Foods, having closed the round in 2023, has already launched several products in collaboration with REWE, a leading European retailer, and is gearing up for further releases with REWE and other prominent German and UK retailers. The company has also established crucial partnerships with industry giants like Griesson – de Beukelaer, Peter Kölln, Spitz, Hans Freitag, and even Lufthansa. Notably, Lindt has recently introduced a vegan chocolate product containing ChoViva.
Utilizing a portion of the funding, Planet A Foods has scaled up production at its factory, now capable of producing 750kg of ChoViva per hour in an IFS-certified and highly efficient production environment.
The innovative fermentation process employed by Planet A Foods utilizes proprietary technologies to transform locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients such as oats and sunflower seeds into ChoViva. This cocoa alternative offers a melt-in-the-mouth texture and full-bodied chocolate flavor. It can be seamlessly integrated into conventional chocolate or used as a complete replacement, containing up to 30% less sugar and boasting a significantly low CO2 footprint due to its reliance on local ingredients and short supply chains.
Founded in 2021 by twins Drs. Max and Sara Marquart, Planet A Foods aims to provide a sustainable alternative to cocoa for chocolate enthusiasts globally. With chocolate demand escalating worldwide, conventional production faces challenges due to the high environmental cost associated with climate change and the broader biodiversity crisis. Adverse weather conditions and crop diseases are decimating crop yields in West Africa, a crucial region for cocoa production.
Dr. Max Marquart, co-founder and CEO of Planet A Foods, emphasizes the need for sustainable solutions, stating, “In the future, chocolate will become more expensive than caviar unless new steps are taken. We are working every day to be part of the solution with ChoViva, through building a second pillar next to chocolate to take some load off the cocoa supply chain.”
Dr. Sara Marquart, co-founder and CTO, highlights the enhanced taste and texture achieved with the funding, solidifying their position as leaders in the alternative cocoa and chocolate sector. The Series A has facilitated the advancement of their technology platform, enabling the hiring of top-tier experts and the scaling up of production to an industrial level.
As chocolate prices reach a 45-year high amid worsening climate impact, the global chocolate confectionery industry, valued at $254 billion in 2024, is expected to grow annually by over 5.6% between 2024 and 2028. Planet A Foods is gearing up for an exciting 2024 with planned product launches and strategic hires to their expanding team in Germany. The raised funds will be utilized for a UK launch, further optimization of their production system, and global expansion plans with discussions underway for strategic distribution partnerships in other European markets, Asia, and the US.
Daria Saharova, Managing Partner at World Fund, commends Planet A Foods for creating a product addressing cocoa’s climate impact and highlights their success in turning a proof-of-concept into an industry-ready product on shelves. The oversubscribed Series A funding round reflects the company’s impressive trajectory, and World Fund is eager to support Planet A Foods in their ambitious global expansion plans in 2024 and beyond.