How would you like to have your bone broth and drink it too?
Ancient Nutrition, a company best known for its bone broth-based protein supplement powder, just snagged a $103 million investment. The funding round was led by private equity firm VMG partners along with Hillhouse Capital and Iconiq Capital. It also included participation from over 100 current and former players in craft food companies such as Noosa Yogurt, The Honest Company, and Stone Brewing.
Ancient Nutrition’s new boost in funding shows that the market for supplements—especially ones that are “natural”—is still booming. The company’s main product is powdered bone broth, a trending meal supplement (which is essentially broth) sipped by health fiends and hipsters alike. Bone broth has particular appeal to people on the ketogenic diet, who believe that we should be eating more like our ancestors: high fat, lots of protein, and minimal carbs. The rising popularity of this and other low-carb diets, such as the paleo diet, have led to a higher demand for protein supplements.
Ancient Nutrition also offers bone broth-derived supplements such as protein powder, which comes in flavors like “French Vanilla” and “Greens.” These can be used in your post-workout smoothies or as a meal replacement, which is another category that has been on the rise lately thanks to veteran Soylent and startups like Bear Squeeze and Ample.
Ancient Nutrition has a serious health food pedigree. Co-founder Jordan Rubin started Canadian dietary supplement and probiotic company Atrium Innovations, which was acquired by Nestlé last year for $2.3 billion. He then took his natural products know-how to start Ancient Nutrition in 2016 alongside Josh Axe, the man behind the popular health & fitness website Dr.Axe.
This funding indicates a strong consumer market for health supplements, especially ones derived from natural products instead of chemicals. Throw the words “superfood” and “whole food” in there, and Ancient Nutrition is capitalizing on three consumer trends: natural, unprocessed foods, miracle health ingredients, and low-carb, high-protein diets. Plus they’ve got convenience going for them; by turning bone broth from a beverage that takes hours to cook into an instant, portable supplement, they’ve made it uber accessible.
Ancient Nutrition plans to use their funds to develop new healthy lifestyle products like fungi, probiotics, and essential oils, presumably all of which will come in French Vanilla.