The Litchfield Fund, a family owned and operated investment fund with offices in Lyndhurst, Ohio and Scottsdale, AZ, has added organic coconut smoothie brand Genius to its portfolio.
Announced Friday via press release, Tom Malengo, chief business officer at The Litchfield Fund, discussed the investment in a call with BevNET, saying he was impressed by Genius’ recent brand revamp and gains in distribution and founder Alex Bayer’s vision for the company. Malengo declined to disclose the amount of the investment.
“There are so many great ideas and great products but what it comes down to is execution,” said Malengo. “We figured out very quickly Alex knew what this business was, what he was doing with it, and where he was he going to go with it. We were really impressed.”
Malengo added that he expects the company’s two new SKUs – coffee and vanilla protein – will help build the brand’s presence on shelves in the coming months, reiterating what Bayer told BevNET in an interview last month.
“Flavor distinction is very key on store shelves, especially since we [now] have more than one SKU,” Bayer said at the time.
The investment follows a handful of notable happenings at the Torrance, California-based brand, most visibly a packaging revamp that saw it change its name from Genius Juice to simply Genius. Bayer indicated the switch came out of consumer confusion over having both “juice” and “smoothie” on its labels.
There have also been changes to Genius’ production process, switching from high pressure processing (HPP) to traditional pasteurization in response to recent issues surrounding HPP’s ability to control bacterial spores in low acid products.
The company recently experienced a spike in placements, securing national distribution with UNFI and KeHe and entering retailers including Whole Foods’ Rocky Mountain region, Natural Grocers, Central Market, Akin’s and Chamberlin’s, Royal Blue Grocery and all 36 Earth Fare grocery stores.
In 2015 The Litchfield Fund announced equity investments in chewable juice brand Harvest Soul and B’More Organic, a line of skyr smoothies. Months later the company invested in New Orleans and Los Angeles-based snacks brand SuperEats, makers of a line of kale and chia chips, among other snacks.
The company’s press release can be found below:
Friday, August 5, 2016 (Scottsdale, AZ): The Litchfield Fund has announced the completion of an investment in Torrance, CA based Genius. Genius is a unique, all organic smoothie blended from both the coconut water & the coconut meat! Blending the water & meat makes Genius a rich, creamy, delicious coconut smoothie. It is available in its Original Flavor & two new flavors, Coffee & Vanilla Protein. Featuring a whole coconut in each bottle, Genius is a filling drink to enjoy on-the-go or at any time.
“Genius & its co-founder Alex Bayer impressed us from day one,” states Tom Malengo, Chief Business Officer, The Litchfield Fund. “We quickly fell for this delicious & nutritious coconut smoothie! Digging deeper, we saw that Alex has put together a well operating company with expanding distribution!”
“Using the whole coconut makes Genius a unique product in the marketplace,” says Susan Bryenton, Chief Market & Product Officer, The Litchfield Fund. “Alex’s recent revamp of the Genius brand & label makes Genius stand out on the cooler shelves. Genius is a satisfying option with its meal replacement functionality. With a 120-day cooler shelf live, we see consumers stocking up on Genius!”
“I am so pleased that The Litchfield Fund is now on our team,” says Alex Bayer Genius CEO & co-founder. “Tom & Susan are quick to share ideas, talk through issues & find ways to help grow the Genius brand!”
Visit www.geniusjuice.com to learn more about Genius.
About The Litchfield Fund: The Litchfield Fund, a family owned & managed joint venture, makes equity & venture capital investments in the Natural and Organic Food & Health Industry. The Litchfield Fund seeks out companies with unique products & potential financial growth offering products in the healthy & sustainable food, beverage, vitamin & supplement categories. The Litchfield Fund is based in Lyndhurst, OH & Scottsdale, AZ. See more atwww.litchfieldfund.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.