In February, parents were shocked when a report from the US House of Representatives Committee on Surveillance and Reform showed that some commercial baby foods contained “unsafe levels” of toxic metals.
This sparked a wave of information in the media about the impacts and what parents can do to avoid them, including checking the ingredients. This growing awareness of nutrition has also benefited food companies focused on providing more nutritious options for babies and older children.
Amara is the latest startup in this space to raise funds, announcing today that it has provided $ 12 million in Series A funding to expand its product line of nutrient-dense foods created for children to at seven. The investment comes 18 months after a funding round of $ 2 million and growth that took the company from 100 to 1,000 stores.
The latest round of funding was led by plant-based food company Eat Well Group in a majority partnership, with current management in place, which values the company at $ 100 million, said Founder and CEO Jessica Sturzenegger at TechCrunch. Existing round table investors also participated, including Pharmapacks.
Sturzenegger and his team launched Amara’s first products in Whole Foods in 2017 after three years of working on the technology. The company has developed a patented technology that traps taste, texture and nutrients in a stable pouch for storing fresh baby meals. It has 10 references and a range of baby foods designed to be mixed with breast milk, infant formula or water.
The packaged foods that can be found on grocery store shelves today are often fruit-based and high in sugar, priced at $ 3-7 per meal and should also be kept cool or frozen, a- she added. In contrast, Amara’s meals start at just $ 1.80 per meal, in keeping with the company’s mission to provide products that meet a wider range of family budgets.
This year, Amara developed this to produce her Yogurt Smoothie Melts, which Sturzenegger touts as “the only melting snacks for babies and toddlers with no added sugar”.
“Studies show that the food you eat from zero to seven years old has an impact on how you think, feel, and perform later in life,” Sturzenegger told TechCrunch. true, and parents pay attention.
Before taking the Series A dollars, Amara was already profitable on every order; in fact, it was growing three times a year organically and through word of mouth, but after the baby food report was released in February, Sturzenegger said the company had gained increased attention from both parents and venture capital firms.
“Amara has proven its impressive ability to scale through excellence in retail distribution and e-commerce, and the funding and industry expertise of the Eat Well Group will help accelerate Amara’s growth as we approach 2022 ”, Said Marc Aneed, president of the Eat Well group, in a written statement.
The funding will allow Amara to grow rapidly to meet demand while investing in hiring, product development and brand awareness. In addition to grocery stores, the company sells through its website, Amazon, and grocery stores primarily in California, but to Sprouts nationwide. Over the next 12 months, Sturzenegger plans to market Amara’s products in more grocery stores.
Meanwhile, the shift to nutrition allows many startups to disrupt the baby and child food market. As such, the global baby food market was valued at $ 67.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $ 96.3 billion by 2027, of which $ 6.3 billion is currently coming from the US market.
Venture capitalists have taken notice, pumping fresh capital into infant and child-focused food businesses like Little Spoon, which raised $ 44 million in Series B funding in July, while Serenity Kids , which offers low-sugar baby food, raised $ 7 million in Series A funding in June.
“There is room in the market and for everyone to target different parents and different prices,” Sturzenegger said. “Our niche is good food for everyone. If we are to change the way the next generation eats, it must be accessible. “