Miyoko’s Kitchen – which makes cultured nut products (aka vegan 'cheese' and 'butter') – will use the cash to boost production capacity at its new facility in Petaluma, CA, develop new products and increase distribution, said founder and CEO Miyoko Schinner, who was introduced to JMK by CircleUp.
“We weren’t just looking for money, we wanted a shared vision for the future and a common goal. JMK understands and appreciate my big picture vision for the company and long-term mission.”
Miyoko’s Kitchen got off to an explosive start in 2014 and has been battling to keep up with demand ever since, according to Schinner, who started selling her wares online in 2014 and is now selling them in Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Wegmans, Raley’s, Trader Joe’s and others.
Who eats vegan cheese?
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA last year, Schinner said her products appealed to a broader consumer base than might be immediately apparent, adding: “There is a core vegan audience that passionately follows us, plus people that are lactose intolerant or have a milk protein allergy.
“But the wider audience is health-conscious foodies, and people that are looking for something new, or think that the dairy industry isn’t sustainable… and that’s before you even think about the treatment of animals.”
The high price point meanwhile - $9-12 per 6.5oz wheel – had not proved a barrier to date, as a growing percentage of consumers are prepared to pay for gourmet food products, and plant-based and ‘cultured’ foods are hot right now, she added.
Cultured nut products in Schinner’s line-up include European-style cultured VeganButter, Fresh VeganMozz, Country-Style Herbes de Provence and Aged English Smoked Farmhouse.
Most are based on cashew nuts; coconut oil; a miso made from chickpeas, rice koji, sea salt, water, and koji spores; nutritional yeast; and cultures.
A growth equity fund investing in emerging consumer product brands, New York-based JMK Consumer Growth Partners has previously made investments in skincare brand Supergoop and personal care brand Babo Botanicals.