SOUTH AFRICA – The recently launched venture capital fund arm by South African food manufacturing giant, Tiger Brands, has made its inaugural investment, backing Herbivore Earthfoods.

Herbivore Earthfoods is a Cape Town headquartered woman-founded business specialising in the manufacture and sale of plant-based and vegan products.

In partnership with Secha Capital, an early-stage impact private equity firm, the Tiger Brands Venture Capital Fund has become a minority shareholder in the business.

The fund was launched in mid-2021 with the aim of driving growth for the company by investing in innovative businesses based in sub-Saharan Africa which offer healthier eating options in line with the latest consumer trends such as Health and Nutrition, Plant Based foods, Convenience and Snackification.

Within a few months of launching, the investment vehicle received more than 500 expressions of interest from eligible businesses operating within the FoodTech and AgriTech sector, where its focus is.

Under the new partnership, Tiger Brands and Secha Capital will use their considerable experience in the food and beverage sector to help grow and scale Herbivore Earthfoods, focusing on making plant-based foods more accessible and affordable for the South African consumer.

The African plant protein market, of which South Africa represents 57%, is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% to $560.62 million by 2023, highlights Tiger Brands.

“In line with global trends, consumers in South Africa and across the continent are driving increased interest and desire for a wide range of plant-based products.

“This is a compelling opportunity, where we are very proud to back innovative entrepreneurs and we are inspired by the team’s underlying desire to improve eating habits and change the current food system for the better.

“Our partnership with the Herbivore team will involve leveraging each other’s combined strengths to achieve their growth strategy and to push the boundaries of an affordable and healthy alternative product offering to consumers,” says Barati Mahloele, Venture Capital Fund Director, Tiger Brands.

Herbivore Earthfoods was founded in 2014 with the aim of making healthy, plant-based foods accessible and affordable in South Africa. 

The company’s product line includes dairy-free milk alternatives and desserts, confectionery and protein alternatives.

“At Herbivore we see plant-based as the future of food, and we pride ourselves as being at the forefront of plant-based food innovation in South Africa.

“More consumers are realising the benefits of a plant-based diet. Our goal is to give our consumers more plant-based options that are tasty and affordable,” says Chanel Grantham, Founder Herbivore Earthfoods.

“In drawing on the knowledge and experience of strategic partners Tiger Brands and Secha Capital we will be able to capitalise on current and future trends in the plant-based food and food technology space,” Davey du Plessis, Herbivore Earthfoods Director reiterated.

Secha Capital brings considerable expertise in the FMCG market, investing in established SMEs across Africa, and Tiger Brands recognised the added value they would help to unlock in Herbivore.

“At Secha, we believe that sustainability is a current and future driver of the economy and that plant-based foods are not a trend but a permanent category growing in every aisle and foodservice restaurant globally.

“We are proud to invest in the Herbivore team because they have been persistent early innovators in the category and their success has shone through in their product range and market adoption.

“We’re equally proud of the impact the business has by being 7x more water-efficient and producing 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than animal-based products,” Kuhle Mnisi, principal at Secha Capital.

The Tiger Brands’ Venture Capital Fund will be actively involved in supporting Herbivore’s growth ambitions through improved governance and strategic guidance, as well as leveraging the Group’s route-to-market and research and development expertise.

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