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Califia Farms raises $225m as plant-based menus gain ground globally

US plant-based milk and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee producer, Califia Farms, raises $225m investment as plant-based food and beverage menus gain traction across developed coffee shop markets globally

Calfia Farms says the $225m funding will enable it to further disrupt the $1 trillion global dairy and ready-to-drink coffee industry


The funding was led by Qatar Investment Authority, with Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, which supported the vegan burger maker Beyond Meat in 2019, among investors. In a press statement, Califia Farms said the long-term capital would enable it build on the success of its oat milk platform and support rapid global expansion.

"The more than $1 trillion global dairy and ready-to-drink coffee industry is ripe for continued disruption, with individuals all over the world seeking to transform their health & wellness through the adoption of minimally processed and nutrient rich foods that are better for both the planet and the animals," said Califia Farms founder and CEO, Greg Steltenpohl.

The significant investment in the Los Angeles-based firm comes as coffee shops in developed markets globally are expanding plant-based menus due to growing consumer demand for ethical, environmentally sustainable and healthier products.

World Coffee Portal data shows almond milk is the most popular plant-based milk paired with coffee among US consumers surveyed, among whom over 60% now indicate they have tried a plant-based alternative to dairy milk. Ethical consumerism was cited by industry leaders surveyed as the second most consumer trend affecting the US coffee shop market currently, behind growth in specialty coffee.

This dynamic is reflected in the move by US-food focused café market leader Panera Bread, which is controlled by JAB Holdings, to increase the proportion of plant-based menu items from 25% to 50% by 2021.

The move toward plant-based menus is also evident in the £10.5bn ($13.7bn) UK café market, Europe’s largest. Nearly one fifth of consumers surveyed by World Coffee Portal frequently request a dairy-alternative milk with their coffee shop beverage.

This trend is reflected in Costa Coffee’s and Pret A Manger’s removal of plant-based milk surcharges. Both chains significantly expanded their vegan food menus in 2020. Meanwhile food-focused market leader, Gregg’s, is hoping to build on the success of the vegan sausage roll with the launch of its vegan steak bake.

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