The Collaborative, a plant-based yogurt startup formerly known as The Coconut Collaborative, has closed a $7 million Series A funding round led by PowerPlant Ventures.
Founded by twin brothers in 2014, The Collaborative started off making coconut-based yogurt and desserts in the U.K. They expanded to the U.S. market in 2018. It’s currently available in retailers nationwide and will launch on Amazon Fresh in May.
It looks like The Collaborative will use its new funds to really put down roots in the U.S. market and expand its retail footprint. The company is also updating its yogurt offerings to include new sizes (like a multi-serve size) and expanding its dessert lineup.
The Collaborative frames its product as a more sustainable alternative to regular yogurt. While dairy has a hefty environmental footprint, coconut harvesting has its own share of evils. To offset its impact, The Collaborative works with Pur Project to plant coconut trees in Southeast Asia to replenish the ones it uses to create its yogurt.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic slowing down the economy, a slew of plant-based companies have announced funding over the past few weeks. Rebellyous Foods raised $6 million for its vegan chicken nuggets, and Impossible Foods announced an eye-popping $500 million raise to help it weather the COVID-19 storm. As restaurants close and people turn even more to retail, animal alternatives have been experiencing a boom in sales — that’s good news for The Collaborative.
The bad news is it has plenty of competition to contend with. The plant-based yogurt space has really been heating up over the past year. Startups like Yofix, Kite Hill, and Lavva, who makes yogurt from pili nuts, are all jostling to come out with a yogurt tasty enough to convert dairy lovers. Even Big Food corporations, like Chobani and Yoplait, are getting in on it.
With so many new entrants crowding the plant-based yogurt section of your grocery shelf, the differentiator will come down to one thing: taste. Our own Jenn Marston (and self-described dairy lover) sampled some of The Collaborative’s coconut yogurt a few years ago and thought it did a pretty good job of imitating the taste and texture of regular yogurt. With its new funding, The Collaborative will be able to launch new products — in new areas — to try and get even more dairy skeptics on board.