PHOENIX, Sept. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — True Food Kitchen, the award-winning restaurant brand that has pioneered wellness-driven dining, announced a significant round of capital investment led by two new investors, HumanCo and Manna Tree, supported by existing investor Centerbridge Partners.
The more than $100 million round of funding is the largest investment for the 42-unit restaurant brand that was founded in 2008 by Dr. Andrew Weil, creator of the anti-inflammatory food pyramid and world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. The HumanCo team has several key investors, including Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, who have personally chosen to support the growth of the nation’s leading restaurant brand backed by science.
“This investment enables us to truly broaden our mission to help well-being through more accessible, real food,” said Christine Barone, CEO of True Food Kitchen. “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.”
Current healthy dining options do not provide what most customers are looking for and True Food Kitchen is on a mission to fill this gap. The brand believes guests should have the option to choose crave-worthy favorites, health-forward items and everything in between – without sacrificing taste or nutrition. True Food Kitchen also believes guests should be able to dine with the same exceptional, uncompromising standards of nutrition, taste and experience no matter when, where or how they decide to enjoy it.
“True Food Kitchen is in a category of its own, with a mission perfectly aligned with HumanCo to help people live a healthier life through epic food experiences,” explained Jason H. Karp, Founder and CEO of HumanCo. “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. 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. Most of all, we love that it’s not just healthy food, but also delicious, craveable food with fresh and intriguing options using only the best real food ingredients.”
“Manna Tree is committed to improving human health through nutrition and found True Food Kitchen as a partner dedicated to that same mission,” added Manna Tree Co-Founder and President Brent Drever. “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.”
HumanCo and Manna Tree bring deep experience with brands that promote healthier living, and together they will help guide True Food Kitchen through its next phase of profitable growth. Both investor groups have had unforgettable personal experiences with True Food Kitchen, leading to their interest in getting involved with the brand.
They recognized that eating at True Food Kitchen is a unique experience where the food is fresh and backed by science, the seasonal ingredients are consciously sourced, the full bar offers handcrafted cocktails with organic spirits and freshly pressed juices, and the staff is educated to inform guests thoughtfully on any dietary preferences. HumanCo and Manna Tree join other True Food investors including Centerbridge Partners, Oprah Winfrey, Lion Capital, Dr. Andrew Weil and Howard Schultz.
“Bringing people together over a delicious meal that makes you feel good has always been a passion of mine. It’s what made me want to be part of True Food Kitchen originally,” said Oprah Winfrey. “I am excited to continue to support the brand in expanding their mission to bring seasonal, delicious and nutritious food to more people.”
Bank of America Securities advised True Food Kitchen on the transaction.
About True Food Kitchen
Founded in Phoenix in 2008, True Food Kitchen is a restaurant and lifestyle brand inspired by the philosophy that food should make you feel better, not worse, and that great tasting food and thoughtfully crafted beverages can serve as the foundation for a life well lived. The brand is driven by a passionate collective of accomplished chefs, visionary restaurateurs and a renowned doctor of integrative medicine, who believe delicious dining and conscious nutrition can go hand in hand without sacrificing flavor, creativity or indulgence. True Food Kitchen’s seasonal menu is guided by the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid. True Food Kitchen emphasizes wholesome, simple ingredients with thoughtful preparations to highlight the natural health benefits and flavors of each ingredient. From nutrient-dense staples and carefully sourced proteins to little-known superfoods, True Food Kitchen is committed to sourcing the most responsible, creative and freshest in-season ingredients. True Food Kitchen has 42 locations in 17 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
HumanCo is a mission-driven company that invests in and builds brands focused on healthier living and sustainability. The company advances the health of consumers using a long-term strategy around impactful, cleaner consumer products that lead to healthier outcomes and improved trust. Current brands include Cosmic Bliss (www.cosmicbliss.com), Snow Days (www.snowdays.com), and Against the Grain (www.againstthegraingourmet.com). HumanCo’s team of entrepreneurs, scientists, and investment professionals share a relentless passion for human health, wellness, and sustainability. For more information, please visit our website at www.humanco.com.
About Manna Tree
Manna Tree (www.mannatreepartners.com) is a Vail, Colorado-based investment firm committed to improving human health. The firm invests in and actively partners with growth-stage companies. Manna Tree believes the future of health, well-being and longevity is attainable through innovation in food. Manna Tree has made 11 investments to date: Health-Ade, The New Primal, Urban Remedy, Evolve Biosystems, Gotham Greens, Verde Farms, Nutriati, Vital Farms, Cheetah, Good Culture and MycoTechnology.
About Centerbridge Partners
Centerbridge Partners, L.P. is a private investment management firm employing a flexible approach across investment disciplines—private equity, private credit and real estate—in an effort to develop the most attractive opportunities for our investors. The firm was founded in 2005 and, as of June 30, 2022, has approximately $34 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London. Centerbridge is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors and geographies. For more information, please visit centerbridge.com.
About Lion Capital
Lion Capital is a consumer-focused investor passionate about driving growth through strong brands. The firm’s principals have led the investment of over $9.9 billion in more than 51 businesses and more than 186 consumer brands across North America and Europe. Lion’s focus on market-leading consumer-facing companies has led to investments in such well-known brands as Kettle Foods, Jimmy Choo, Gordon Ramsay and AllSaints. www.lioncapital.com.
Lesley Sillaman, Executive Vice President