Ancient Nutrition, a bone broth protein and collagen supplement maker, has secured $103 million in funding through strategic minority investment led by VMG Partners. The company, which is the breakthrough pioneer in Bone Broth Protein supplementation that delivers the benefits of “homemade bone broth in a convenient, easy-to-mix form,” revealed a minority investment from VMG Partners, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and over 100 members of a co-investor network.
The backing from this esteemed group of industry leaders, influencers, and individual investors is a testament to the future of Ancient Nutrition’s movement towards providing history’s healthiest, real food nutrients to the modern world. This announcement marks the brand’s first investment, which is poised to elevate the current team’s resources and company growth.
Bone broth is one of the most trending areas in US functional foods. In fact, Innova Market Insights tracked over six times as many products marketed as "bone broth" in 2017 as in 2015, with CAGR of +147%. Recent launches include Ancient Nutrition Organic Bone Broth Protein Powder, a Cafe Mocha flavored organic superfood powder made from real bone broth. "It is perfect for those looking for an organic, meatier, thicker and more substantial bone broth protein. Containing a balanced, complete profile of both muscle-building proteins and connective tissue-building proteins, organic bone broth protein is the ultimate source of ancient nutrients."
Source: Innova Market Insights, 2018
The US bone broth trend is being driven by small companies. According to Innova Market Insights, of the top 100 sales-based companies within the food & beverage space, only General Mills and McCormick have a product with bone broth in the US market. This in itself the result of acquisitions. General Mills acquired Epic in 2016 and McCormick acquired Kitchen Basics in 2011.
Ancient Nutrition was co-founded in 2016 by Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe. Rubin also founded Garden of Life (recently acquired by Nestlé) and is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Maker’s Diet.” Dr. Axe is also the founder of DrAxe.com, the #1 natural health website in the world with over 17 million unique visitors per month, and Axe Wellness, #35 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list.
Ancient Nutrition believes the human body was built for high performance and that in the modern world consumers are often disconnected from the traditions and nutritional principles that were honored and celebrated throughout history.
Ancient Nutrition has quickly become the #2 ranking protein supplement and meal replacement brand in the natural health channel, as defined by SPINS, through its groundbreaking line of Bone Broth Protein, Multi Collagen Protein, Essential Oils, and Keto products. Ancient Nutrition is driving key paleo, collagen, and grass-fed supplement trends across all channels. The company is also one of the fastest growing brands in protein, collagen, and gut health with a 266 percent growth CAGR from 2013-2017, and is the largest dollar growth contributor to the category, contributing $10 million, which represents in excess of 40 percent of the total category growth.
This round of funding represents a vote of confidence for the developing bone broth market. Although still a niche product, bone broth products have seen impressive sales growth in recent years. According to SPINS, US retail sales of bone broth tripled to $19.7 million in 2016. Ancient Nutrition has meaningfully contributed to its recent growth, experiencing a 266 percent growth CAGR between 2013 - 2017 and representing 40 percent of growth for the protein, collagen and gut health category during this period. Other companies in this space include bone broth maker Kettle & Fire and Bulletproof with its collagen powder and recent Whole Foods debut of its ready-to-drink collagen coffee.
“Our mission at Ancient Nutrition is to deliver real food and nutritional products that are formulated to provide ancient nutrients in a modern, convenient form,” said Dr. Josh Axe, Co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition. “The resulting products fuel the body and mind, restoring us to the health, strength, and vitality of our ancestors by delivering wholesome, clean ingredients.”
Ancient Nutrition’s strategic, minority investment is led by VMG Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in and building iconic branded consumer product companies within the food, beverage, pet food, personal care, and wellness categories, including KIND, Quest, Vega and more.
“VMG Partners is thrilled to partner with Jordan, Dr. Axe, and the phenomenal team they have built to deliver on a shared vision for the future of real food nutrition led by Ancient Nutrition,” said Jon Marshall, Vice President at VMG Partners. “The brand resonates so strongly with consumers who are actively seeking food that powers, as well as heals our bodies and overall well-being, and we are honored to be involved in the brand's continued growth and success.”
“We are completely blown away by the caliber of the Ancient Pioneers co-investor network and the expertise and enthusiasm that this group brings to the table,” said Wayne Wu, Managing Director and Partner at VMG Partners. “At VMG, we are passionate about building community and driving thought leadership in the emerging brand space. This truly remarkable group of more than 100 incredible individual co-investors joining together to support Ancient Nutrition is a testament to this community we are building that supports entrepreneurs and the emerging brand ecosystem as a whole."
Hillhouse Capital, a global firm and e-commerce thought leader throughout Asia focused on building and investing in successful brands, contributed significantly to this investment.
“We are excited to partner with Ancient Nutrition and are impressed by the vision of the co-founders,” said Lei Zhang, Founder of Hillhouse Capital. “We believe Ancient Nutrition will have great potential in Asia and look forward to working with the company to grow its business.”
Alongside VMG, Hillhouse Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and more than 100 individual investors form the co-investor network. This impressive network offers Ancient Nutrition’s current team the ability to accelerate growth and offers the unprecedented support of elite food and beverage founders, CEOs, investors, influencers, and industry professionals.
“The investment team cumulatively offers such rich and diverse expertise within the industry and we feel honored that they want to play a part in the next chapter of Ancient Nutrition,” said Jordan Rubin, Co-Founder of Ancient Nutrition. “We are so excited to partner with the best of the best to truly create the most impactful wellness brand in history.”
“The Ancient Pioneers network brings together industry veterans and leaders to support Ancient Nutrition and the brand’s exponential growth,” said John Foraker, Former CEO of Annie's Homegrown, Co-Founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm. “I am proud to be involved and am excited to see what the next chapter holds for Ancient Nutrition as the brand continues to develop and expand.”
“Ancient Nutrition’s products deliver ancient nutrients to a modern world,” said Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder and Chairman of Stonyfield Farm. “I am thrilled to support Ancient Nutrition as they bring their mission of real food nutrition to more people.”
“Our bodies were designed and intended for high performance and thus require proper food to power this performance,” said Jillian Michaels, Personal Trainer, Fitness Expert, and Founder of Empowered Media. “People are increasingly recognizing the need for real food nutrition to nourish their bodies and this is what I envision for the future of the food landscape. I am so excited to see brands like Ancient Nutrition paving the way towards convenient, nutritionally rich foods that refresh and fuel our bodies.