Early Oatly investor Gullspång and Capagro have led the round for the challenger brand that offers ‘better-for-you’ alternatives to popular sugar-packed and carb-loaded foods

By Murielle Gonzalez

Niclas Luthman, Nick's co-founder
Nick’s co-founder Niclas Luthman. Photo as seen on the company website

Swedish sugar-free snacks brand Nick’s has raised $30 million in funding, its largest venture capital round to date. The financing round was led by Stockholm-based investment group Gullspång Invest, an early investor in Oatly, and Capagro, Europe’s first independent venture capital fund dedicated to foodtech.

The round also attracted Khosla Ventures, DNS Capital, Djursholm Investment Group, and Skandrenting AB among other investors.

Nick’s is a brand of Lub Foods, a challenger food company co-founded by Niclas ‘Nick’ Luthman in 2014, soon after he was diagnosed as a pre-diabetic and was forced to change his diet and lifestyle.

Luthman co-founded the company with Carl Bäcklund and hired Stefan Lagerqvist as chief executive officer to manufacture ‘better-for-you’ alternatives to popular sugar-packed and carb-loaded foods.

PeakBridge is among the existing investors in Nick’s. Managing parter Nadav Berger told NutritionInvestor: “Nick’s is an amazing indulgence brand created by an exceptional founder who found out that he had a pre-diabetes and started one of the most exciting, technology-supported, tasty, and beautifully designed brand in Europe and the US.”

Nick’s retail expansion

The company said the funds will be used to fuel international expansion with a primary focus on the US and Germany, and to build a new production facility in Europe.

Stefan Lagerqvist_Nick's CEO
Stefan Lagerqvist, Nick’s chief executive

Chief executive Lagerqvist said: “Our latest launch of low-calorie, no-added-sugar ice cream during the spring has been very successful and we are now the market leader in the ‘better-for-you’ ice cream segment.”

A low-sugar champion

Diabetes and other diseases linked to our diet are a huge problem all around the world. Sugar and sweet snack products are known to be the prime culprit.

Nick’s wants to change that. With a broad portfolio of snacks, Nick’s offers healthier alternatives with no added sugar, gluten, palm oil, and a lower calorie count.

The most recent innovation is ice cream that contains 70% fewer calories than market-leading brands.

Foodtech for health

Nick’s entered the US by the end of 2019 and secured shelf space in 3,600 stores. The company reported a turnover of approximately $10 million in the second year.

In the US, Nick’s has the exclusive right to use EPG, a patented fat replacer which gives the ice cream great taste and texture despite being low calorie.

Furthermore, Nick’s also launched vegan ice cream in collaboration with Perfect Day, who invented the world’s first animal-free whey protein that’s identical to protein in cow’s milk but without the animal.

“The food business is undergoing a large paradigm shift where healthier foods will transform the entire category of foods,” said Lagerqvist. He notes drinks and ice cream producers have already come a long way in this regard without making any compromise on flavour.

“When we producers can create functional products, and with enough flavor, other categories within food will follow. Healthier food is a catalysator for a more sustainable future and will have a huge impact on a global scale,” he concluded.

Date published: 13 January 2021

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