Vegan yogurt-maker gets money boost from European foodmakers

Yofix Probiotics, a maker of dairy-free, soy-free yogurt alternatives, raises $2.5 million from investors including Germany’s Muller Ventures and France’s Bel Group

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Steve Grun, CEO of Yofix Probiotics Ltd, left, and co-founder Ronen Lavee (Courtesy)
Steve Grun, CEO of Yofix Probiotics Ltd, left, and co-founder Ronen Lavee (Courtesy)

Israeli startup Yofix Probiotics, Ltd., a maker of dairy-free, soy-free yogurt alternatives, has raised $2.5 million from new investors Muller Ventures, AG, of Germany, the French Bel Group, and US financial firm LionTree Partners LLC.

Yofix has created berry, banana and maple, and apple and cinnamon-flavored yogurts whose formulation is based on the fermentation of oats, lentils, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut. The products, which use no processed ingredients and have no additives, colors or flavorings, are crafted to deliver the flavor and probiotic functionality of dairy yogurts without the dairy ingredients. The line targets the lactose-intolerant and dairy-allergic population and offers a plant-based solution for the growing vegan and flexitarian markets.

The money raised will enable the firm to expand its reach globally and will help speed up development of more innovative soy-free dairy alternatives in additional categories, including oat yogurt shakes, alternative cheeses, frozen desserts, and other milk alternatives, the company said in a statement.

Muller Ventures is the venture arm of the Muller Group, a multinational producer of dairy products. Bel Group is a multinational cheesemaker.

Israeli startup Yofix Probiotics Ltd. has started sales in Israel of its first dairy-free, soy-free range of yogurt alternatives, aimed at vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers (Courtesy)

“In the fast-growing dairy alternative space, Yofix offers a unique range of quality products, both in terms of flavor and texture,” said Benjamin Bugl, managing director of Muller Ventures. “With no artificial ingredients, its clean-label solution is a powerful differentiator for consumer awareness and acceptance. Combined with Yofix’ strong management team, this makes it an attractive investment opportunity for Muller.”

Since the launch of its line of yogurt alternatives, the startup nabbed first prize at PepsiCo’s European Nutrition Greenhouse Programme 2018. More recently it was elected as one of the 50 most innovative companies at Anuga 2019 in Cologne.

“Receiving the financial investment by such prominent multinational players of the dairy industry is an endorsement of trust and confidence in our products and technology,” says Steve Grun, CEO of Yofix. in the statement.

“This fresh influx opens the door to new possibilities. Over the next few years, we will focus strategic efforts on expanding our line of dairy alternatives — which also includes oat yogurt shakes — into the global market,” he said. “The support will also boost the advancement of our efforts toward developing more clean-label plant-based offerings that extend into alternative cheeses, frozen desserts, and milk alternatives — the prospects are boundless.”

“By taking part in the Yofix adventure, we are choosing to get closer to new players in the market that have key expertise and are developing the innovations of tomorrow,” said Caroline Sorlin, Plant-Based Acceleration Unit general manager at Bel Group. “Bel Group is entering the plant-based arena for the first time, so this gives concrete expression to our strategy of combining the best of dairy and plant-based products.”

Yofix was the first startup to be housed by The Kitchen Hub, the FoodTech incubator established five years ago by the Strauss Group.

Other investors for this round include Good Seed Ventures and HWA, as well as initial investors CPT Capital and VegInvest, the statement said.

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