General Mills leads $12 million investment into GoodBelly

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

GoodBelly photo.
GoodBelly photo.

Related tags General mills Probiotic

General Mills has led a funding round that poured $12 million into Boulder,CO-based functional food firm NextFoods and its GoodBelly brand via its venture investing arm 301 Inc.

According to a report in the Minneapolis Start Tribune​, the investment is largest of the 10 that 301 Inc.​ had made in its three year history. Exact details of the deal were not disclosed but 301 Inc. was reported to have supplied the majority of the funds. 

Taking successful brand to ‘next level’

The investment will help GoodBelly​—already a well established line of functional probiotic juice drinks with sterling sales growth numbers—to further grow its national sales and innovation efforts.

“We are excited to partner with 301 INC to help take GoodBelly Probiotics to the next level,” ​said Alan Murray, chief executive officer of NextFoods in a statement.

“This investment is a testament to GoodBelly’s leadership in the category and the continued growth of probiotic food and beverages. With this partnership, we look forward to driving new product innovation as well as expanding our team to reach new consumers.”

The report noted that the companies have already collaborated on the development of a nutrition bar that includes probiotics. The bar was unveiled to the industry at the recent Expo East trade show in Baltimore earlier this year and reportedly will hit the store shelves later this year.

Microbiome a growing target in industry

The General Mills investment reflects the ongoing interest in gut health and the human microbiome among major players in the nutrition industry. GoodBelly is the leading probiotic juice drink in the gut health category, a category which is projected by the company to hit $64 billion in sales by 2023.

That kind of potential has suppliers scrambling to secure a seat at the table. While many new probiotic ingredients will appear in dietary supplements because of formulation constraints, further developing these ingredients so that they can be used in functional food applications is a goal for almost every company in the industry.

Just yesterday DuPont Nutrition and Health announced an expansion of its Microbiome Venture collaboration​ with the addition of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRI). 

“DuPont continues to build its capabilities through microbiome innovation,”​ Microbiome Venture leader Sebastian Guery told our sister site

Launched in 2017, the Microbiome Venture effort includes partnerships with a research institute in Cork, Ireland and a fermentation facility in Estonia. The aim is to increase the company’s probiotic offerings, which include the HOWARU line of probiotics it brought on when it acquired Danisco in 2011 in a $6.3 billion deal. 

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