Renewal4 Invests in Uncle Matt’s Organic
Uncle Matt’s Organic Returns Home After Dean Foods Bankruptcy
Original Founders Complete Acquisition and Secure Dream Team of Investors and Advisory Board
CLERMONT, Fla., May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Uncle Matt’s Organic®, the nation’s number-one selling brand of organic orange and grapefruit juices, has been welcomed back home to Founder and CEO, Matt McLean, who built and subsequently sold the company to Dean Foods in 2017. This unexpected homecoming also includes a new parent company named Harmoni, Inc., and an all-star advisory team of investors.
Dean Foods purchased Uncle Matt’s in June of 2017 and retained the team to continue running the business, including McLean and his wife, Susan McLean, who oversees marketing. In November of 2019, Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy after struggling with shifting consumer preferences, private label competition and a reduction in milk processing. This unique situation presented an opportunity for McLean to bid for the beloved brand he started.
“If you told me three years ago after selling to a publicly-traded, multi-billion dollar CPG leader that I’d buy Uncle Matt’s Organic back out of bankruptcy, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Matt McLean, Uncle Matt’s Organic Founder and CEO. “When Dean’s financial distress took a saddening and unfortunate turn, it became a rare opportunity for us to purchase Uncle Matt’s to expand distribution, innovate into new categories, and educate consumers on the intrinsic health benefits of buying organic,” he continued.
The McLean family is now supported by a powerhouse of successful industry investors including:
Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder of Stonyfield Organic
John Foraker, Former CEO of Annie’s and Co-Founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm
Andrew Abraham, MD, CEO and Founder at Orgain
Nicole & Peter Dawes, Founders of Late July Snacks & Nixie Sparkling Water
Matt Rogers, Founder of Nest and Incite.org
Renewal Funds, a mission venture capital firm with a commitment to supporting organic companies, also participated.
“Uncle Matt’s is one of America’s truly legendary organic brands,” said Gary Hirshberg, Co-Founder of Stonyfield Organic. “From their very start, the McLean family has been at the forefront of meshing the most advanced ecological sciences together with a maniacal dedication to extraordinary taste and nutrition. As a long-time fan and friend, I am thrilled to be their partner for the next leg of this exciting health and taste adventure,” he added.
Bob Burke, Principal of Natural Products Consulting LLC, will join board members Matt McLean, Susan McLean, Gary Hirshberg and Paul Richardson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Renewal Funds. The Giannuzzi Group served as lead counsel throughout the bankruptcy process.
John Foraker, Co-Founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm commented, “I’ve been a consumer of Uncle Matt’s for years and admire the brand for its authenticity and commitment to organic agriculture and great-tasting and approachable products. It is rare to have the opportunity to invest in and support a “start-up” with so much history and opportunity ahead of it. I am excited to support Matt, Susan, and the Uncle Matt’s brand on their continued path to build a meaningful brand with impact that consumers love and trust.”
“I am humbled to partner with such a high-caliber and experienced team,” said Matt McLean. “My wife and I are excited for the opportunities ahead. To be surrounded and supported by colleagues who have had enormous success in the organic industry is an honor and a journey we are looking forward to,” he concluded.
The sale of Uncle Matt’s Organic to Harmoni, Inc., was finalized on April 30, 2020.
About Uncle Matt’s Organic
Uncle Matt’s Organic® is the nation’s oldest organic orange juice company offering premium quality organic products. All Uncle Matt’s products are USDA Organic, have no synthetic additives or preservatives and contain no GMOs. Uncle Matt’s products are available nationwide in fine retailers nationwide. Uncle Matt’s is an active member of Organic Trade Association (OTA) and supports the Organic Farming Research Foundation, The Organic Center, and Organic Voices. To learn more, visit unclematts.com or follow along on Facebook @unclematts or Instagram @unclemattsorganic.