General Mills invests in Kite Hill

by Monica Watrous
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Kite Hill nut cheeses and yogurts, General Mills
Kite Hill makes artisanal nut milk cheeses and yogurts.

HAYWARD, CALIF. — Kite Hill, a maker of artisanal nut milk cheeses and yogurts, closed on an $18 million fund-raising round led by 301 Inc., the business development and venturing unit of General Mills, Inc., and CAVU Venture Partners.

Hayward-based Kite Hill sources non-bioengineered almonds from California’s San Joaquin Valley to make its proprietary almond milk, which is used for a range of products marketed under the Kite Hill brand. The company plans to use the proceeds from the funding round to expand distribution and increase consumer awareness for the brand. Products include four artisanal nut cheeses, two cultured cream cheese-style spreads, two varieties of ravioli and five cultured yogurts.

Matthew Sade, Kite Hill
Matthew Sade, c.e.o. of Kite Hill

“These investments provide additional confirmation that Kite Hill has quickly established itself as the gold standard in great tasting plant-based dairy,” said Matthew Sade, chief executive officer of Kite Hill. “Our products, from cheese to yogurt to entrees, are quickly becoming the bridge for consumers who want access to better-for-you products without having to trade off great taste. We are excited to partner with General Mills and CAVU to grow our business, innovate new products and reach the ever-growing number of consumers who are incorporating plant-based foods into their diets.”

For 301 Inc., Kite Hill joins a portfolio of brands that include Good Culture, Rhythm Superfoods and Tio Gazpacho.

John Haugen, 301 Inc., General Mills
John Haugen, vice-president and general manager of 301 Inc.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Kite Hill to help them expand their remarkable portfolio of plant-based dairy foods,” said John Haugen, vice-president and general manager of 301 Inc. “What sets Kite Hill apart is its ability to innovate and crack the code on developing great-tasting products that appeal to consumers seeking dairy alternatives.”

CAVU Venture Partners, whose recent investments include High Brew Coffee, Health-Ade Kombucha and Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, is led by three food and beverage industry veterans with a focus on better-for-you consumer brands.

Clayton Christopher, CAVU
Clayton Christopher, co-founder and general partner at CAVU
“The science behind the products, amazing taste and better-for-you nutritional profile are incredibly compelling,” said Clayton Christopher, co-founder and general partner at CAVU. “We look forward to helping Matthew and his team make Kite Hill a household name for consumers seeking a healthier alternative to dairy.” 
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