Planet A Foods, a very forward-thinking B2B sustainable ingredients startup, has successfully raised $15.4 million in a recent Series A funding round in order to help to propel its cocoa-free chocolate venture, ChoViva, to big new heights on the global stage.
The brainchild of siblings Drs. Max and Sara Marquart, the Munich-based startup is driven by a mission to create an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cocoa-based products. Initially known as QOA when TechCrunch first featured them back in 2021, the rebranding to Planet A Foods symbolizes their commitment to environmental sustainability, emphasizing the irreplaceable value of our planet, given the escalating challenges posed by climate change.
Many millions of chocolate enthusiasts are all too familiar with the skyrocketing prices of cocoa, reaching a 45-year high in 2023. The cocoa bean futures were traded at a staggering $4,362 per tonne, marking an 84% increase in prices from the previous year. These market dynamics are unfolding against the backdrop of a robust growth projection of 5.6% annually in the global chocolate confectionery industry through 2028. As the demand for chocolate continues to surge, Planet A Foods is working to position itself as a revolutionary player, leveraging fermentation technology to transform locally sourced ingredients, such as oats and sunflower seeds, into an enticing cocoa-free chocolate experience with ChoViva.
Max Marquart emphasizes the urgency of their mission by stressing, “there is no Planet B.” With a deep-seated commitment to safeguarding the Earth, Planet A Foods champions the use of fermentation technology to create an enticing chocolate alternative, offering a delightful melt-in-the-mouth texture and a rich chocolate flavor. The ChoViva product line, available in milk, semi-sweet, and white varieties, stands out not only for its sensory appeal but also for containing up to 30% less sugar, aligning with the growing consumer preference for healthier options.
Their founders envision Planet A Foods as a ‘next-generation Cargill,’ positioning itself as a high-tech food ingredient company dedicated to delivering sustainable food solutions to the industry. Beyond the chocolate industry, Planet A Foods is gearing up for broader impact by extending its fermentation platform to other plant-based ingredients, setting the stage for multiple product launches anticipated in the first quarter of 2024.
The recently successful Series A funding round, led by World Fund and featuring a diverse investor group, including Omnes Capital, Cherry Ventures, Mudcake, Nucleus Capital, Triple Point Capital, and Feast Ventures, underscores the industry’s recognition of Planet A Foods’ potential to reshape the global food tech landscape. Despite a broader downturn in food tech investments, their oversubscribed Series A round speaks volumes about the success and promise that Sara, Max, and their team have demonstrated over the last three years.
With an eye on the future of producing sustainable ingredients for all, Planet A Foods is poised for rapid expansion and revenue growth, targeting an eight-figure revenue run rate by the end of 2024. Their immediate plan involves an international rollout of ChoViva, starting with the United Kingdom and subsequently entering other European markets, Asia, and the United States. This bustling startup remains deeply committed to hiring additional scientists, expanding its 50-person team in Germany, and scaling production to an industrial level business.
Already capable of producing 750 kilograms of ChoViva per hour at its facility, Planet A Foods is determined to meet the rising demand for its sustainable and delectable cocoa-free chocolate, setting new standards throughout the industry.