More celebrities get in on the action as True Food Kitchen raises more than $100 million – The Business Journals

True Food Kitchen, a Phoenix-based restaurant and lifestyle brand focused on wellness in dining, says its latest — and celebrity-backed — funding infusion of more than $100 million will open the way to more expansion opportunities.
The round was led by health-centered investors HumanCo and Manna Tree Partners, both of which are committed to working with companies that promote health and sustainability. Existing True Food Kitchen investor Centerbridge Partners also participated.
HumanCo’s investment team includes the celebrity husband-and-wife duo of singer Nick Jonas and actor Priyanka Chopra, both of whom personally chose to support True Food Kitchen’s growth, the company said. Chopra also was an early private investor in Austin, Texas, dating app Bumble, which went public in February.
New York-based HumanCo has also invested in Snow Days, which makes organic pizza bites; and Cosmic Bliss, which makes organic dairy and plant-based ice cream.
It was the largest investment the company has received since it was founded in 2008 by Dr. Andrew Weil — a famed specialist in integrative medicine and the creator of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid, whose principles guide True Food Kitchen’s menu — together with prolific Valley restaurateur Sam Fox. The brand was part of Fox Restaurant Concepts until being sold in 2016.
Now the chain has a few dozen locations in 18 states, and has plans to keep expanding, something that both new investors said they are eager to help guide.
“This investment enables us to truly broaden our mission to help well-being through more accessible, real food,” Christine Barone, CEO of True Food Kitchen, said in a statement. “This capital will unlock a tremendous amount of potential for our future, allowing us to expand our footprint, launch smaller formats, and ultimately allow more people across the country to experience great tasting food that is truly good for you.”
The company’s mission calls for food that doesn’t compromise on taste or experience while maintaining the highest nutritional standards. HumanCo’s CEO said that matches perfectly with his firm’s ethos.
“It’s an amazing, uniquely mission-driven brand that’s authentic, accessible and unwavering at a time when a lot of health and wellness is not,” said Jason Karp, founder and CEO of HumanCo, in a statement. “While many companies are engineering man-made and synthetic products, True Food Kitchen looks to nature and farms for all of its food – and we believe this is how we can all build a better, more sustainable food system.”
The focus on health is also vital for Manna Tree Partners, based in Vail, Colorado.
“Manna Tree is committed to improving human health through nutrition and found True Food Kitchen as a partner dedicated to that same mission,” Manna Tree co-founder and President Brent Drever said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to working closely with their management team and leveraging our expertise to help True Food Kitchen bring its revolutionary ‘better food for better living’ concept to a much wider audience.”
Manna Tree has also invested in Good Culture, a maker of organic cottage cheese; and Vital Farms, an organic egg business.
Jonas and Chopra are not the first celebrities to put money into True Food Kitchen’s success. In 2018, Oprah Winfrey invested an undisclosed amount that was expected to double the brand’s growth at the time. Winfrey also joined the company’s board of directors at the time.
Bank of America Securities advised True Food Kitchen on the latest transaction.
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