Flamin’ Hot Mountain Dew and 5,000 Fast Growers: CPG News, Weeks of August 16 & 23

Sophie Guimaraes

5 minutes


Unioncrate's curated biweekly round-up of CPG & supply chain news. This week's news features a spicy soda collab, new distribution gains for Solely and Koia, and a $2B valuation that could revolutionize how grocery stores sell produce.


Investments & Acquisitions

Beyond Meat has filed to trademark the name Beyond Milk as the mega-brand prepares to expand into alternative dairy. Food Dive

Brazilian meat giant JBS already partially owns US chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride; now they’re looking to own the rest of it. Food Dive

Cactus water brand Caliwater has raised a $2M seed round, backed by actress Vanessa Hudgens and filmmaker Oliver Trevena. BevNET

Private equity firm First Bev has acquired a majority stake in kombucha brand Health-Ade. BevNET

Latte maker Taika has raised a $2.2M seed round with investors including former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb. BevNET

Apeel, who creates plant-based produce wraps designed to extend shelf life in-store, has raised a $250M Series E, bringing its valuation to $2B. Food Dive

Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of Kroger, is selling its dairy processing facility to Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association Inc., and will continue to carry the facility’s products in-store. Winsight Grocery Business

Cox Enterprises has acquired indoor farming business BrightFarms. Progressive Grocer

Planterra Foods, a subsidiary of JBS, has added a new R&D center to its recently-expanded Colorado headquarters. Food Dive

Office food provider garten has acquired LeanBox and Grind Coffee. NOSH

Health food and ingredient company Starday has raised a $4M seed funding round. TechCrunch

Kinderhook Industries has acquired Primal Pet Foods. Pet Age


New Products & Partnerships

It’s the collab we’ve all been waiting for: Mountain Dew has a new hot Cheetos flavor. BevNET

Publix is launching private-label, plant-based chicken nuggets. Food Dive

REBBL is launching two new functional products: prebiotic soda and mushroom-boosted “stacked” coffee. BevNET

Vita Coco is launching a new line of protein water, marking an expansion outside of coconut products. Food Dive

Mars Wrigley has a new M&M flavor: crunchy cookie, slated to launch in the US in 2022. FoodBev

Barry Callebaut is releasing a new chocolate flavor called “Caramel Aura,” which is a caramelized white chocolate. Food Dive

Meat snacks brand Country Archer is dipping its toes in the plant-based category with the launch of its new mushroom jerky. NOSH

Dr. Pepper has kickstarted a rewards program called Pepper Perks for big-time soda buyers. Food Dive

Upside Foods has partnered with a Michelin-starred chef to provide her San Francisco atelier with its cell-based chicken. Food Dive

Corsa, the winner of New Beverage Showdown 18, has rebranded as Corsa Hydration Tonics and is now geared toward the functional beverage space. BevNET

Marvel has partnered with Sanzo to promote its new film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the main characters of which will be featured on the cans.

Good Culture is moving past cottage cheese and instead now brands itself as a “healing cultured foods company.” Food Navigator

Because, Animals is thus far the only pet food company to use cultured meat, and they just launched a cat treat with cultured mouse meat. Vegconomist

Cargill and AeroFarms are partnering to increase cocoa bean yields via climate-resistant vertical farming. Food Dive

Hormel’s subsidiary Happy Little Plants is launching plant-based pepperoni to be used in the food service industry. Food Business News

In conjunction with its new funding, Taika is launching a matcha latte SKU. BevNET

Lean Cuisine (owned by Nestlé) is revamping its original recipes, swapping out carbs for cauliflower and added protein. Food Dive


Supply Chain News

Aldi is gearing up for the holiday season, aiming to add 20,000 US employees in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal

In the same vein as Amazon Prime, Albertsons has launched a membership program that includes a digital subscription service. Progressive Grocer

After months of warehouse labor shortages, warehouse employment has reached a new high of 1.44M workers. Supply Chain Dive

Canadian plant-based brand Wholly Veggie has gained distribution in the US via Whole Foods. NOSH

Oatly will open its third and largest American production facility, which is slated to produce 150M liters annually. Vegconomist

By 2030, PepsiCo aims to be net water positive; if they achieve this goal, they’ll be one of the most water-efficient CPG brands operating in high-risk watersheds. Food Dive

Walmart is expanding its DTC deliveries, with contracted employees and autonomous vehicles, for other companies’ last-mile deliveries. The Associated Press

Shipt is debuting a feature that lets users choose which shopper they’d like to deliver their products. Progressive Grocer

NBA star Chris Paul is now an investor in plant-based protein drink Koia, which will be distributed across all HBCUs. BevNET

E-commerce logistics firm Radial is preparing early for what’s slated to be a hectic holiday season. The Wall Street Journal

Target is adding four more sortation centers in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Georgia after a successful pilot run in Minnesota. Winsight Grocery Business

Juice brand Karuna has gained distribution in Sprouts Farmers Market. BevNET

Glossier is opening its first permanent brick and mortar store in Seattle. Retail Dive

Fruit leather brand Solely has gained distribution in 9,000 new doors. NOSH

Kellogg has launched a DTC site dedicated exclusively to Cheez-Its to collect more consumer data. Consumer Goods Technology

Ahead of the holiday season, FedEx has raised surcharges, starting with special deliveries and trickling down to other deliveries through 2022. Business Insider

Osaro has raised a $30M funding round to scale its robotic logistics solutions. DC Velocity

There are lots of reasons why you probably can’t find all of what you need at the grocery store—read about them here. The Wall Street Journal


Good Reads

This is a cool one: see the timeline of how the plant-based movement has evolved—all the way back since 1975. Food Dive

August saw a drop in consumer confidence, according to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan. MarketWatch

Ever wonder about those fond pre-pandemic times when you could sample food at, say, I don’t know, Costco? So are a lot of other people. Food Dive

Miyoko’s Creamery recently won a legal case, the verdict for which was approval of using the terms “butter” and “lactose-free” so long as the products are properly labeled as vegan. What does that mean for the rest of the plant-based category? NOSH investigates. NOSH

Inc.’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list is out once again… and food and beverage companies dominate it. NOSH

Wondering why so many large retailers are launching private label pet food? Read more about it here. Modern Retail

And finally, perhaps most significantly: US consumers are buying more and more of their groceries at the dollar store. The Washington Post

About Unioncrate

Unioncrate is an AI-powered Supply Chain Planning Platform that gives CPG brands the technology they need to compete and win in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Our automated demand and supply forecasts deliver unmatched accuracy, collaborative visibility, and actionable intelligence, simplifying a manual-heavy process and slashing hours from your week.

Stay in the loop

Get the latest CPG insights delivered straight to your inbox.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Unioncrate respects your privacy and will not share your personal data. View our Privacy Policy.