Nutrition brand KOS recently announced the closing of its $12 million Series A investment led by industry vets and entrepreneurs, Clayton Christopher and Brian Goldberg, with a follow-on investment from early-stage investor, Springdale Ventures.
KOS launched in 2017 and offers a range of plant protein powders and nutrition products, such as protein shakes, spirulina blends, a red juice blend as well as a mushroom coffee blend. It also uses functional ingredients such ashwagandha, inulin, beetroot, lion’s mane mushroom, acai berry, matcha and maca root in powder and capsule forms, along with specialty supplements.
Retail and digital ramp up
The brand will utilize the investment to elevate its retail partnerships, enhance customer awareness, innovate product, enter new service categories, accelerate and expand mission-aligned partnerships, as well add on to the KOS team.
Allan Stevens, KOS Co-Founder and Co-CEO, told NutraIngredients-USA that the company recently hired two new positions; Director of Sales, North America and Regional Manager, Northeastern US to help facilitate closer relationships with retail partners.
In their digital sector, the company is building out its DTC marketing team by adding several new positions and investing heavily in performance marketing platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Youtube.
“These types of ad campaigns drive a significant amount of overall awareness while at the same time expanding our direct customer base,” said Stevens. “In terms of mission aligned partnerships; based on the success of our Feeding America Project 10 Million Meals campaign, we'll be launching an additional one-for-one program in the near future, which will focus on carbon neutral packaging options and a positive impact on the environment.”
"We've been fans of the KOS brand since it first launched and have watched it develop into something quite special in a very short period. I have been a heavy user of plant-based proteins, tried them all and KOS wins on both taste and nutritional profile," said Clayton Christopher. "Over time as an investor, you see certain patterns repeat that are clues to a brand's long-term success and KOS has exhibited many of them. We're excited to be involved and to support the KOS team in their next chapter of growth."
KOS credits its sizable DTC digital business in allowing it to build a friendly rapport with consumers.
"The direct line of communication with hundreds of thousands of consumers both inform us in real-time of changing customer needs but also gives us a platform to launch and test new products before taking them to the broader retail market," said Tony Stahl, KOS Co-Founder and Co-CEO.
“We hear a wide variety of feedback and suggestions from our customers ranging from new product and flavor ideas, packaging or format considerations, ingredient preferences and more. There is a strong demand for products that focus on gut health, stress relief, and reboots of traditional snack foods with cleaner non-GMO ingredients and less or no sugar,” explained Stevens.
As a result, Stevens told us that in March KOS is slated to launch zero sugar, plant-based, individually wrapped functional gummies which will debut at CVS. The first four gummies are designed to support sleep, energy, gut health and immunity.
“The individual wrapping makes it easier to take your gummies with you on the go and eliminates clumping that traditional gummies have. Plus, we’re able to use a cardboard outer sleeve and reduce the amount of plastic we use,” said Stevens.
With his ear to the ground, Stevens said that Amazon and social media have provided a faster and much less costly path to market for new brands and retail buyers are starting to look at the signals online for product discovery. “Coupled with this, younger consumers are prioritizing their health and looking for products that align with what they value. This is likely to accelerate innovation in all categories, as companies respond by creating new healthier functional options of food items or adding more naturalness into existing ones.”