Arbor Investments (“Arbor”), a specialized private equity firm that focuses exclusively on investing in food, beverage and related industries announced today their investment in, and partnership with ultra-premium freeze-dried and frozen raw pet food manufacturer Carnivore Meat Company ("Carnivore" or the "Company"). The transaction marks the fourth platform investment for Arbor Fund V. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded in Green Bay, Wisconsin by entrepreneur and CEO Lanny Viegut in 2012, Carnivore is among the largest pure-play freeze-dried raw pet food producers in North America, manufacturing unique freeze-dried and frozen raw pet food, snacks and treats. A pioneer in raw pet food, Carnivore’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and proprietary freeze-drying process are strongly positioned to meet rapidly growing demand, fueled by discerning pet parents worldwide who are seeking nutritious and delicious alternatives to traditional pet foods.
Carnivore’s all-meat freeze-dried products are safe, convenient, and shelf-stable, making them ideal for traveling, training, snacking and everyday feeding. These highly differentiated products are marketed under the Company’s family of brands including flagship brand Vital Essentials®, Vital Cat®, VE RAW BAR™ and the most recently launched Nature’s Advantage® line. The Company’s branded products are distributed to over 7,200 retailers in the U.S. and Canada, online including via Chewy and Amazon, and in 14 international markets. In addition, Carnivore is a trusted partner to a number of co-manufacturing and private label customers.
“Carnivore has been blessed with incredible growth and we see acceleration at an even faster rate in the future,” said Viegut. “When we saw this opportunity to partner with a team who completely match us in culture, values and beliefs…and who share the same commitment to manufacturing premium quality food products, we just had to say, “YES”! This partnership will help us stay ahead of the ever-increasing demand for our 100% raw protein products. Carnivore and Arbor are a perfect fit and the timing couldn’t be better. With our combined experience and expertise, along with Arbor’s resources, we will continue scaling quickly to stay ahead of the incredible demand curve for our ultra-premium quality raw pet foods and treats.”
Under Viegut’s leadership, Carnivore was recently named to Inc. 5000’s list of America’s fastest growing private companies for a third consecutive year. Viegut and senior leadership of the Company will continue in their operating roles leading the business.
“The Carnivore team have developed distinctive products with a fanatical customer base,” stated Arbor Partner Chris Tuffin. “The freeze-dry sector is seeing meteoric growth as pet parents learn about the unrivaled benefits of a raw diet. We look forward to bringing our resources and capital to help increase capacity and support the step-change acceleration in the Company’s growth.”
“Lanny and his team have built something truly incredible, not only in terms of product, but in terms of a unique culture,” said Arbor President Carl Allegretti. “The Carnivore team’s customer-centric approach and ‘find ways to say yes’ attitude across the organization is a clear driver of their tremendous success, and a seamless fit with Arbor’s hands-on approach. We couldn’t be more excited about our new partnership.”
Winston & Strawn LLP served as Arbor’s legal counsel in connection with the transaction. Houlihan Lokey served as Exclusive Financial Advisor and Godfrey & Kahn served as legal counsel to Carnivore.