“Since the start of Harmless Harvest, we have been focused on our ecosystem-based ambition of driving growth while maintaining the highest standards of quality, sustainability and investing in the people and communities around us,” which is why when the company decided to expand it sought investors who held the same values, Harmless Harvest co-founder Justin Guilbert told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We [are] so excited to partner with Danone Manifesto Ventures because they share our commitment and vision for a healthy and sustainable future. They believe in the notion of what we call ‘constructive capitalism,’ where all the agents – people and plants – of the supply chain benefit in the wealth and growth driven by the power of entrepreneurship,” Guilbert said.
He added that the $30 million investment, which also comes from Mousse Partners as well as other existing and new shareholders, including AccelFoods, will go towards a new state-of-the art facility with expanded production capacity.
The funds also will help the company to expand its existing national distribution in natural and conventional channels, and enable it to enter convenience and ecommerce, according to Laurent Marcel, the managing director of Danone Manifesto Ventures. He added, “this will be one of our growth opportunities in the coming years and we look forward to realizing the upside ahead.”
Growth of plant waters attracted Danone Manifesto Ventures
He told FoodNavigator-USA that Danone Manifesto Ventures wanted to invest in Harmless Harvest because of the fast pace of development of the company so far, “along with the refrigerated plant water category overall, which keeps attracting more and more consumers looking for healthy beverages from sustainable origins. We believe this trend will continue in the coming years, because it is based on deep and growing consumer interests and demands.”
Another of these growth driving trends is consumer desire for the freshest options available, which Harmless Harvest is able to provide because unlike shelf stable alternatives it is a highly perishable product that must be refrigerated, Guilbert said.
“Harmless Harvest coconut water is not just refrigerated,” he explained. “It is the closest you can get to drinking straight from a coconut, and not just any coconut. Harmless Harvest only uses organic and sustainably harvested coconuts from specific terroirs (or phenotypes) and uses cutting-edge scientific methods for its owned and operated site-specific facility.”
He added that “unlike most of its competitors, our Harmless Coconut Water is minimally processed through a proprietary extraction and micro-filtration process, which preserves the flavor of young coconuts.”
Plus, they are certified organic, “which ensures they are produced without use of any chemical/synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.”
The brand also taps into consumer desire for socially conscious products because it is “the world’s first coconut water manufacturer to establish and gain the challenging Fair For Life certification, which means the people that are in this supply chain are treated with respect, progressive values and fairness that we all deserve,” Guilbert said.
With so many driving forces behind it, Marcel says he expects “lots of growth, lots of new consumers, and lots of sustainable coconut farming” from the partnership in the years to come.