Nomva raises $3m to fuel its probiotic fruit pouch ambitions

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Nomva raises $3m to fuel its probiotic fruit pouch ambitions

Related tags Organic food

Phenomenal Foods – the Los Angeles-based start-up behind probiotic-fueled organic fruit & veggie snack brand Nomva – has raised $3m in a series A fundraising round to help it take its HPP-treated pouches to a broader audience.

The 80-110 calorie refrigerated pouches - which are positioned in the dairy case or the grab & go beverage set and have created a completely new category in grocery – were launched in Southern California late last year and are now in around 60 stores.

Containing more fiber than cold-pressed juice (4-5g per serving), plus a dose of probiotics (Ganeden’s ultra-resilient BC30 strain), they are targeting consumers seeking wholesome, simple, minimally processed snacks in a convenient format.

Strategic partnerships

The latest funding round – led by Evolution Media Partners and fresh produce firm Taylor Fresh Foods (one of Nomva’s suppliers) – will help Nomva expand distribution via customers including Whole Foods Market (beginning in the southern pacific region in March) and take its store count to 500+ by the end of the year, co-founder Caroline Beckman told FoodNavigator-USA.

nomva square
Nomva organic fruit and vegetable snacks are available in five flavors, with no added sugars, acids or concentrates. Nomva is processed using high pressure processing (HPP) which destroys harmful microorganisms while retaining more of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in the produce, claims the firm.

The investors will also serve as strategic partners, offering marketing support (Evolution) and expertise in sourcing and distributing organic produce, said Beckman, who has already secured the kind of financial support most new food brands can only dream of (two of Nomva’s first backers were technology investor Peter Thiel and Zico founder Mark Rampolla).

The pouches move a lot faster when they are in the beverages set rather than the dairy case

Beckman (a founding member of Suja Juice) and co-founder Nina Church (a Stanford student and daughter of Suja Juice CEO Jeff Church) acknowledged that the ticket price ($3.99) is fairly high (HPP and organic produce don’t come cheap), but said this compared favorably with many functional beverages, and had not so far proved a barrier to purchase.

Nina Church and Caroline Beckman Nomva
Nomva co-founder Nina Church (pictured left) with Caroline Beckman (right)

“The velocities are about 50% higher than the juice brands in the category so we are really pleased with our performance so far. We’ve also seen that the pouches move a lot faster when they are in the beverage set next to kombucha and smoothies rather than in the dairy case next to things like yogurts.”

While in-store demos are the primary vehicle the company is using to support the brand, it is also doing events and on-shelf promotions, said Church, who said that the product was doing well with a wide variety of consumers looking for a fresh, nutritious snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Read our profile of Nomva HERE​. 

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