NEW YORK — Chickpea-based food company Banza announced $20 million in growth funding, led by Enlightened Hospitality Investments and Prelude Growth Partners.
The company, which is known for its better-for-you pastas, said it will use the funds to expand into other comfort foods and scale investment in its U.S.-based supply chain.
Brothers Brian and Scott Rudolph launched Banza in 2014. The idea, they said, was to create sustainable, high-protein versions of classic mealtime staples. More recent product launches include chickpea rice, macaroni and cheese and oven-ready lasagna. The company also recently opened its own manufacturing center in California and started working with U.S. chickpea farmers.
Banza’s pastas have close to twice the amount of protein as their traditional wheat-based counterparts. They also have twice as much fiber and one third fewer carbs.
These nutrition claims have made the brand a hit among young and health-conscious consumers, said Neda Daneshzadeh, co-founder and managing partner at Prelude Growth Partners. Banza currently is the fastest-selling pasta brand at both Whole Foods and Target.
“The consumer packaged goods industry is being regenerated, driven by the needs of the millennial consumer,” Ms. Daneshzadeh said. “Prelude’s proprietary research indicates that Banza is resonating deeply with millennials driven by its nutrition-rich and delicious product offering in a category that has seen very limited innovation. Banza also brings a sustainability lens to this space, which is increasingly an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions.”