Exclusive interview

General Mills makes big push in plant-based category, D’s Naturals CEO said

D’s Naturals has grown to nearly $10m in revenue, and gained national distribution in over 10,000 retail locations in less than two years. Pic: D's Naturals

Plant-based protein snack maker D’s Naturals has received a boost from 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners and General Mills’ 301 Inc. to aggressively grow its footprint this year. 

D’s Naturals was created by CEO Daniel Katz out of his personal fitness need about two years ago, manufacturing low-sugar 'No Cow' protein bars and nut-based 'Fluffbutters'.

“Three years ago, the market for plant-based protein products was very small [in the US], but I saw a marketing opportunity in LA,” Katz said.

Shortly after launching the company, Katz secured distribution across the US through health and wellness retailers. Vitamin Shoppe became the first chain to puts D’s Naturals products on shelf nationwide. Today, D's Naturals is distributed in other 10,000 retailers and commands a $10m annual revenue.

Investment advantage

Katz told BakeryandSnacks that his firm attracted the attention of General Mills and 2x Partners because of its performance in the plant-based category of the health and fitness space.

“Both companies love our products, and we want to make something more together," he said.

“General Mills is making a big push into plant-based products, and sees the potential of the category.”

Katz added the cereal maker’s support was not so much of a financial investment as a strategic business move.

"The two companies have provided resources mainly on the operational aspect, as well as marketing and branding,” he said.

"General Mills essentially created the 'on-the-go' category with Nature Valley back in the days, so in terms of resources, supply chain, R&D and operations, these are the things we [will be able to leverage].”

Katz is hoping to continue increasing consumer awareness and securing more distribution channels for D's Naturals in 2017. 

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