QUITO, Ecuador — LiveKuna, a vertically-integrated superfood company established in Ecuador, announced Dec. 6 a Series A round of funding led by Grupo Bimbo with participation from SOSV and AMADEO. Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest baking company and owner of over 100 brands including Sara Lee and Thomas' English Muffins, will partner with LiveKuna on superfood innovations and support their plans to expand distribution in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, strengthen the North American team, and increase the network of farmers.
Before launching LiveKuna, co-founders Carlos Gutiérrez and Santiago Stacey set out to find Ecuadorian farmers who were growing superfoods, committing early-on to sourcing from family farms. Today, they work directly with nearly 500 environmentally-friendly farmers from their home country to source chia and quinoa, telling a story of who, when and where the ingredients come from. LiveKuna's vast portfolio of natural products includes gluten-free flours, pastas, cereals, seeds and grains in addition to its growth-driving line of superfood snacks KunaPops.
"LiveKuna exceeds the expectations of today's consumers, delivering clean label snacks and traceable ingredients without sacrificing taste," said Constantino Matouk, Director of Bimbo Ventures at Grupo Bimbo. "As we double down in the better-for-you category, we know LiveKuna – a purpose-led brand committed to sourcing superfood ingredients from family farms – will push the limits of what's possible in snacking."
This summer, LiveKuna launched KunaPops in the U.S. at all 364 Sprouts Farmers Market locations. Revenue for the quinoa and chia puffed snacks doubled from 2020 to 2021 YTD, already proving to be a major growth-driver for the brand. As LiveKuna looks ahead to the next five years, they expect to grow at double digits year-over-year and build upon their portfolio. The brand will introduce sweet KunaPops in both a cereal and snack format in Q1, an extension of the popular line of snacks.
"Both LiveKuna and Grupo Bimbo have exciting advancements on the horizon," said Co-Founder and CEO Santiago Stacey. "Joining forces to help push the food category forward was a no brainer. As we look to launch new innovations, we're positive our synergy will help create even better healthy options for consumers."
The two companies began working together in July 2020, when Grupo Bimbo selected LiveKuna from a competitive pool of applicants to develop a superfood bread. The bread, created with LiveKuna's sustainably grown and traceable chia and quinoa, went to market in record-time and continues to thrive at Ecuadorian supermarkets nationwide. Furthering their partnership, a Grupo Bimbo representative will join LiveKuna's Board of Directors, adding to the brand's industry expertise.
"We're thrilled to bring Grupo Bimbo's experts into the fold," said Co-Founder and President Carlos Gutiérrez. "They have a long history of working with top CPG brands in the food industry, and their category know-how will be instrumental in evolving the LiveKuna brand."
LiveKuna offers a true omnichannel experience to consumers, with products available at regional and national retailers and online at Sprouts Farmers Market, Ralphs, Amazon, SnackMagic, Gopuff, among others. Learn more about LiveKuna and the brand's vast product portfolio at livekunashop.com.
"Kuna" means "to give" in the Quechua language. LiveKuna is a vertically integrated superfood company that exists to give health, taste and traceability to its customers. The brand offers a range of natural products from ingredients to salty snacks, all made from superfood ingredients including quinoa and chia. LiveKuna products are available at livekunashop.com, Amazon, Sprouts Farmers Market, and select regional retailers across the U.S. Learn more about LiveKuna at livekunashop.com and on Instagram.
Grupo Bimbo is the leader and largest baking company in the world and a relevant participant in snacks. Grupo Bimbo has 202 bakeries and other plants and around 1,600 sales centers strategically located in 33 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Its main product lines include sliced bread, buns & rolls, pastries, cakes, cookies, toast bread, English muffins, bagels, tortillas & flatbreads, salty snacks and confectionery products, among others. Grupo Bimbo produces over 13,000 products and has one of the largest direct distribution networks in the world, with more than 2.9 million points of sale, more than 53,000 routes and over 133,000 associates.