IRVINE, CA — Good Culture, the clean-label cultured foods brand credited with revolutionizing cottage cheese, announced Feb. 23 the completion of $64 million in Series C funding led by Manna Tree, with participation from SEMCAP Food & Nutrition and celebrity investor Kristen Bell, a superfan of the brand. This capital will help Good Culture, a certified B-Corp, continue to scale the business and innovate beyond its current product line to build a cultured foods platform.
Good Culture immediately disrupted the sleepy cottage cheese category with its 2015 launch, and continues its path toward meteoric growth with their latest round of funding. The company has experienced an impressive 79% Compound Annual Growth Rate over the last five years while increasing its distribution footprint to over 10,000 stores. Good Culture is the fastest-growing cottage cheese brand in MULO and natural channels. It is the biggest contributor to cottage cheese growth in the US and it has achieved the status of the #1 cottage cheese brand in the natural channel and the No. 1 natural cottage cheese brand in MULO. The company's notable growth in high-profile grocery and mass retailers has been driven largely by increasing consumer demand for their products.
As thought leaders in the regenerative agriculture space and revolutionaries in the cultured dairy industry, the company has secured funding from sources aligned with its mission to create foods that are healing for people and the planet.
"In just six years, Good Culture has revolutionized the long-overlooked cottage cheese and sour cream categories," said Manna Tree Director, Sylvio Petto Neto. "We're excited to add Good Culture to our large and growing portfolio of better-for-you brands such as Health-Ade. At Manna Tree, we are inspired to improve human health through nutrition, and we are confident that we can help Good Culture build on its strong foundation to become the leading cultured dairy brand."
Good Culture's relationship with SEMCAP Food & Nutrition was driven by managing partner John Haugen, who was an early investor in the Good Culture mission in his time with General Mills' 301 INC.
"I've worked closely with Jesse and his team over the past six years and have witnessed firsthand their impressive growth," said Haugen. "Good Culture has built a portfolio of remarkable products that are on trend with today's consumer and they are leading the way with their commitment to pasture-raised dairy and regenerative agriculture. This really aligns to SEMCAP's mission to change humanity for the better, and we believe that fueling Good Culture's growth is a phenomenal way to positively impact people and the planet."
Good Culture's relationship with Bell was one nurtured organically, too. The beloved celebrity, known for partnering with mission-driven brands with big growth potential, expressed her love for Good Culture's products, which led to an exciting conversation and partnership on this next phase of growth.
Co-founder and CEO Jesse Merrill's vision for Good Culture was born from his desire to use food as functional medicine to combat an autoimmune disease. He focused on cultured dairy (specifically, cottage cheese) as a prime starting point in his quest to use food for healing, and then sought to revolutionize the category entirely with clean, whole ingredients and the freshest cultured dairy, responsibly sourced from farms employing regenerative agriculture methods.
"We are evolving from a cottage cheese and sour cream brand to a healing cultured foods company, and this new round of funding will help propel our efforts to create positive food system change," says Merrill. "Expansion and best-in-class innovation will continue to be primary areas of emphasis for the company. We'll also deepen our commitment to real food and sustainable, regenerative farming practices through our partnerships with 1% for the Planet and B-Corp, and continue to build out a pasture-raised supply chain."
Merrill said this funding will serve to grow the Good Culture team, expand awareness-driving marketing and enhance manufacturing, as well as provide liquidity to some early shareholders, including CAVU Venture Partners. In addition, Good Culture will drive innovative product development and plans to grow its offerings in nutrient dense, cultured foods.