Investing in the Future of Food: So Good So You raises $14.5m to expand distribution, innovate

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Investing in the Future of Food fundraising Entrepreneurship functional beverages

When the pandemic prompted some retailers to delay category resets or close their doors temporarily to new brands, the emerging wellness shot brand So Good So You didn’t dwell on delayed distribution opportunities – rather it doubled down support for existing partners to increase velocity and ultimately still hit its sales targets.

The company's dedication to its retail partners, and its ability to engender consumer loyalty at a time when many shoppers were turning their backs on emerging brands in favor of more established options, so impressed Prelude Growth Partners that the investment group opted to invest $14.5m in So Good So You​.

The partnership, announced today, will help the young, but already profitable, brand pick up where it left off in March with plans to expand distribution nationally in-store and online, as well as innovate further to meet growing consumer demand for immune-boosting and other functional products.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Prelude Growth Partners, a boutique investment group that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the CPG space. And we’re partnering with them to look for ways to solidify the brand as a leader in the category and to further cement those relationships with consumers and with our retailer community,”​ co-founder Rita Katona tells FoodNavigator-USA in this episode of Investing in the Future of Food​.

Being a reliable partner lifted So Good So You’s sales

She explained that So Good So You has been able to rise above the competition during a very challenging time in large part by being a reliable partner both for retailers and consumers.

“Where we’re supporting our retail partners is by being responsible and flexible. And during the pandemic there were a lot of moving parts and pieces, and we’d get requests from retailers to shorten lead times, increase POs, move things around and for us, being able to be nimble and support them”​ was a top-priority, Katona said.

In return, retailers were happy to keep the product stocked and in front of consumers who were hunting for health- and immunity-boosting products, such as So Good So You’s functional shots.

The brand also connected with shoppers by offering a product that they could feel good about for their bodies, but also the planet, co-founder Eric Hall said. He explained that sustainability is an authentic and core component of the brand, which So Good So You reinforced by launching during the pandemic the BtrBtl​, which biodegrades at an accelerated rate for a better end of life outcome.

Surging sales reflect authentic connection

This strategy has clearly paid off for the company with its sales doubling year-over-year for the past three years and surging 380% in the last 18 months.

“One of the great things about partnering with SPINS is being able to see the velocity, and so I’m proud to say that not only is our Immunity [shot] the number one shot in velocity nationally per SPINS in MULO, but our Energy Shot and Detox Shot are up there in the top six,”​ Hall said.

Katona also touted the brand’s high repeat purchase rates and customer loyalty, which she says outpace the rest of the category.

With part of the funds raised, So Good So You plans to build on this momentum by investing more in marketing – but not in a traditional way. Rather than investing in influencers or celebrity endorsements, the brand will invest in its consumers – hoping to reinforce organic connections and further build loyalty.

“Consumers are not transactions. They are part of our community, and so being able to respond in a more meaningful way to invest in them and invest into the community is our goal,”​ Hall said.

Katona added the brand is “about creating solutions for problems and needs that our community has, and so nurturing that relationship just strengthens our ability to respond to their needs and give them what they are looking for.”

The company will follow this same consumer-driven approach as it continues to innovate in the coming months and years, she added.

Hall agreed, noting, “With any successful CPG, it is a dialogue that you have with your consumer, and if you're doing it right, you haven't engaged in community that you're able to listen to and respond to their needs. And when you are, then you hopefully begin to mitigate risk upon lunches, but more importantly are to have a higher chance of success and be able to truly build and support that community and go in a direction that they want as opposed to a direction you think they want.”

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