Banza, a US company that uses chickpeas to make a range of pasta, has secured $20 million in funding as it looks to expand its team and product portfolio.
The round was led by Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI) and Prelude Growth Partners.
Brothers Brian and Scott Rudolph launched Banza in 2014 to make nutritious food more accessible by reimagining comfort food classics traditionally made with wheat, corn and rice.
The US company first launched with chickpea pasta that is said to have nearly double the protein of traditional pasta.
Banza recently launched chickpea mac and cheese as well as chickpea rice. Its products are on sale in more than 12,000 stores across the US.
“It’s hard to imagine more impactful partners than EHI and Prelude, given their unique strengths across foodservice, brand building, and team culture,” said Brian Rudolph, CEO and co-founder of Banza. “Their combined expertise will help us realise our mission of making nutritious, sustainable foods more accessible.”
The brand now aims to scale investment in its US-based supply chain and bolster its marketing efforts.
“At Enlightened Hospitality Investments, we invest in ideas we wish we’d thought of ourselves and companies run by people we wish we had hired ourselves,” said Mark Leavitt, co-founder and a managing partner at EHI.
“Our investment in Banza, a company that is successfully disrupting categories that consumers love but where they have been offered little in the way of innovation, is a perfect example of our strategy being put to work. We have been closely watching consumer interest in plant-based protein within the foodservice and CPG industries and are excited to watch Banza continue to capitalise on these trends.”
Neda Daneshzadeh, co-founder and managing partner at Prelude Growth Partners, added: “Prelude’s proprietary research indicates that Banza is resonating deeply with millennials driven by its nutrition-rich and delicious product offering in a category which has seen very limited innovation.
“Banza also brings a sustainability lens to this space, which is increasingly an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. We look forward to partnering with the Brian, Scott and the management team as they continue to reinvent beloved food categories and develop Banza into an iconic, powerhouse brand.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019