AUSTRALIA – Victoria-headquartered health and wellness food brand, Soulfresh has secured a £26m (US$34.28m) investment from retail and consumer investment firm, True to support growth and international expansion.

Founded by Didi Lo in 2003, Soulfresh operates across three core categories, delivering 11 own-brands across fermented beverages, plant-based foods and drinks for consumers focused on healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

The brands within its portfolio include Lo Bros (kombucha range of drinks), Nutty Bruce (plant-based milk alternatives), Pico (organic vegan chocolate) and Eaty (plant-powered “meat”).

The company’s products are already available in leading retailers including Sainsbury, Ocado, Amazon, Woolworths, Coles, Countdown, Pak N Save, Mercadona and Dia across various markets.

Working across predominantly grocery and health channels, Soulfresh has market leading distribution across six countries including: including the Australia, United Kingdom, France, Spain, New Zealand and a growing presence in South Africa.

According to a statement released by True, Soulfresh’s core markets are experiencing robust growth, with fermented beverages delivering compound annual growth of nearly 30% set within a stagnating global soft drinks category worth a significant £278bn (US$366bn).

The company is also expected to benefit from the exploding plant-based food market, at £2.4bn (US$3.16bn) of global sales, which continues to deliver growth rates eight times that of the global meat category, a market worth £171bn (US$225bn).

Soulfresh’s owned brand portfolio together grew more than 100% year-on-year.

Commenting on the investment, Matt Truman, Co-Founder and CEO, True: “At True we invest in business models that are at the forefront of consumer behavioural shift.

“Soulfresh is at the epicentre of the global health, wellness and sustainability mega-trends with a focus on R&D and innovation that is market-leading.

“Our unique business model will allow us to genuinely add value for Didi and his team who have built a fantastic platform of brands with potential for rapid growth.”

Didi Lo, CEO and Founder, Soulfresh added: “In the past 15 years Soulfresh has experienced a great deal of growth off the back of disrupting mainstream categories like juices, soft drinks and dairy milk.

“We have been looking for the right partner to take our fast growing, innovative global business to the next level and have found that in True.

“At Soulfresh, we are passionate about innovation, growth and championing healthy food and drinks for the mainstream, and in True we have found a partner who believes in the scale of the opportunity these market shifts provide.”

As part of its investment, True will also manage a new commitment from Soros Capital Management, Robert Soros’ Family Office, leveraging Soros’ unique network and asset base to help Soulfresh accelerate its ambitions.

Ben Clarke will join the board as the independent Chairman of the company. Clarke brings substantial global experience in growing food brands from more than 25 years’ working in the industry.