Alternative meat brand Jack & Annie’s, which makes plant-based meat products from jackfruit, recently secured $23 million in a Series B funding round. Co-led by Creadev and Desert Bloom and existing investors Beta Angels and InvestEco, the funding round was the largest to date for the brand. So, how did Jack & Annie’s earn millions from investors and what will it do with the funding?
“We are excited that our investors are partnering with us to create the next generation of plant-based – real foods, from a real plant,” said the company’s CEO and founder Annie Ryu, in a press release. “They are experienced, connected investors who share our vision and values — to transform the global food system for the good of people and planet.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Jack & Annie’s differentiates itself from other plant-based meat makers by making its products out of whole jackfruit. The company boasts a wide range of products, from frozen and chilled sausages to pulled pork and wings, all made from the tropical tree fruit. While ripe jackfruit has a sweet flavor, baking it gives it an earthier flavor with a texture similar to that of pulled pork.
Ryu first had the idea for jackfruit products ten years ago while studying medicine at Harvard University. She was first introduced to jackfruit while on a trip to India and formed the company with her brother after learning about the fruit’s potential. Not only is jackfruit a great meat substitute, but it is also drought resistant and high-yielding.
Despite this, however, Ryu found that 70 percent of jackfruit went unused. With a background in global health, she had a vision of adding income for farmers by providing an outlet for the fruit to be used. Today, Jack & Annie’s supports 1,000 farming families in India by preventing the underutilized crop from going to waste. This in turn provides them with ten to 40 percent of their income.
Jack & Annie’s is not the first jackfruit-based brand. In 2015, the first company that emerged in the space was The Jackfruit Company, which offers a lineup of a dozen products that harness the meaty texture and flavor of the fruit. Several other companies emerged in the alt-meat space using jackfruit as a base ingredient. Last year, Singapore-based Karana raised $1.7 million to develop plant-based pork made from the fruit. Upton’s Naturals produces meat alternatives using jackfruit, as does The Very Good Butchers and Native Forest.
However, Jack & Annie’s pioneered the largest supply chain for jackfruit and found an approachable way to market its plant-based meat alternative to vegans and vegetarians as well as meat eaters. Since the brand launched in 2020, it has unveiled ten easy-to-make frozen food products that have meaty applications, including crumbles, nuggets and meatballs. It frozen and refrigerated products range from $4.99 to $7.99.
In less than a year, Jack & Annie’s has rapidly gained distribution nationally in over 1,500 retailers, including Whole Foods, Target, Meijer, Sprouts, Wegman’s and Giant. According to data from SPINS Natural Channel, the company is the third largest frozen brand in the entire plant-based category.
Jack & Annie’s continues to double its revenue each year and plans to use the funding to build partnerships and new innovation, expand its distribution in the US across retail and foodservice channels and expand its footprint on the shelves.