20 Months Post-Launch, This Little Mac and Cheese + Noodle Company Sells One Box Every 2 Seconds, Attracting a Star-Studded Investor Group to Shake Awake And Grow A Sleepy Category
SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 13, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — GOODLES®, the fun-to-say, stylish, better-for-you noodle brand celebrated for its modern line of delicious and nutrient-packed boxed mac and cheese and pasta, today announced a $13 million Series A funding round led by L Catterton, a leading global consumer investment firm. From its launch in late 2021, GOODLES has challenged category thinking – defying the stereotype that mac and cheese is only for kids – and instead has introduced a line of products boasting premium nutrients, delicious taste, and a daring range of sophisticated flavors.
Beginning with four mac and cheese flavors at launch, which sold out within two weeks, GOODLES experienced a remarkable 33X growth in 2022 and is on track to triple its sales in 2023. The brand has successfully sold seven billion noodles, introduced a total of 12 SKUs and entered a second category, pasta, since its inception. GOODLES landed its first retail shelf placement in April of 2022, but today, 16 months later, GOODLES has over 35,000 points of retail distribution nationwide. As part of their mission to Make, Be and Do Gooder, GOODLES has partnered with leading charitable organizations in the fight against food insecurity, resulting in the donation of over 350,000 servings so far. With its premium nutrition and sophisticated and creative flavors, GOODLES is not just winning market share, it’s growing the category, making mac cool again with new brand and health-conscious audiences. At one national mass retailer, GOODLES is delivering the highest revenue per SKU in the category for its format after just one year. The brand’s following is evidenced by expressions of enthusiasm: Halloween costumes inspired by flavors, user-generated advertisements, brand tattoos, wedding invitations, and even a bulk order from a noteworthy A-list admirer for a baby shower.
With the new Series A investment, GOODLES is bolstering its executive team by appointing three new C-Suite executives and increasing its U.S. production capacity to meet the surging consumer demand for their products.
“We can’t outspend our deep-pocketed, big-brand competition. We have to be more authentic and more unexpected and go places they simply cannot,” said Jen Zeszut, Co-Founder and CEO of GOODLES. “We are excited about this partnership with L Catterton – the best-of-the-best when it comes to scaling consumer brands. The influx of capital to keep up with demand, coupled with the ability of our extraordinarily creative and results-oriented team to produce unconventional and joyful executions, positions us perfectly for continued success. We’re here to achieve legendary business results by creating a legendary product and brand, and we are growing faster and more efficiently than many of our food and beverage counterparts because of it. It’s a testament to the power of weird!”
GOODLES was founded by CEO Jen Zeszut, a seasoned 4-time CEO, and Paul Earle, a branding professor, and serial entrepreneur who serves as a Board Director. The Founding Team also includes Chief Product Officer Molly Michet, a veteran Food Scientist who specializes in developing and commercializing innovative products from concept to shelf, working with companies like Plum Organics and Clif Bar & Company, Chief Impact Officer Deb Luster, former President of Annie’s, and Founding Partner Gal Gadot, an award-winning actress, producer, and philanthropist. As the company enters its next growth phase, it aims to enhance its leadership team by onboarding experienced executives from the consumer brand and food industry. This strategic move intends to scale operations, meet rising demand, drive sales growth, and firmly establish GOODLES as a household name. Today, Greg Peterson, the fourth employee of GOODLES and its Chief Operations Officer with over 30 years of experience in CPG at Plum Organics, Nutiva and Cerebelly, is joined by three new appointments to the organization’s C-suite, along with one new board member. Stacie Hajduk assumes the role of Chief Marketing Officer, drawing from her 25-year career with prominent consumer brands as well as food startups including Plum Organics, Bonafide Provisions, and Cerebelly. Nathan Lord joins as Chief Financial Officer, leveraging his expertise from his prior role as CFO at Kodiak Cakes. John Casey is appointed Senior Vice President of Sales, with a successful track record scaling sales for rapidly growing food brands such as Chobani, Altoids, and Barnana. Entrepreneur Eric Ryan, Co-Founder of Method, Olly and Welly is also appointed to the GOODLES Board of Directors. These appointments strengthen GOODLES’ commitment to strategic expansion and operational excellence, positioning the company for ongoing success in the dynamic consumer brand and food industry landscape.
“The growth we’ve experienced is a testament to our loyal fans and consumers. I would never have imagined that my favorite meal as a child – mac and cheese – would become a business venture of my own. I am grateful that I can contribute to bringing joy to people’s dining room tables,” said Gal Gadot, Founding Partner of GOODLES.
L Catterton led the funding round and was joined by existing institutional investors: Springdale, Third Craft Partners, Willow Growth, Alumni Ventures, GingerBread Capital, IMG-Endeavor, Cosmic VC, and Electric Feel Ventures. The strategic investors encompass the entire GOODLES management team, including actress and founding partner Gal Gadot, as well as notable athletes, celebrities, and industry veterans. These include Klay Thompson, Khris Middleton, Domantas Sabonis, DK Metcalf, Weston McKennie, Sergio Garcia, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, David Grutman, Ilana Muhlstein, Marissa Hermer, Matt Rutler, Christina Aguilera, Mau y Ricky, and The Montaners.
“GOODLES is reimagining the category by delivering innovative, high-quality products that are just as delicious as they are nutritious,” said Jon Owsley, Co-Managing Partner of L Catterton’s Growth Fund. “With its growing portfolio of unique flavors, the brand has quickly captivated consumers of all ages. We are thrilled to be leading the Company’s Series A raise and look forward to working with Jen and the entire GOODLES team to ensure consumers everywhere get to share in the joy that GOODLES brings to the table.” Evan Einstein, a Principal in L Catterton’s Growth Fund, will join the brand’s Board of Directors as part of this funding round.
GOODLES are noodles, made gooder. A brand that launched in November 2021 under the belief that mac and cheese is more than a childhood memory, but a lifelong food that can be tasty and better for you. GOODLES eliminates the need to choose between great taste and nutrition by combining sophisticated ingredients, protein, fiber, nutrients from plants and complex flavors that taste incredibly delicious. GOODLES now boasts over 10 flavors of mac and three styles of pasta, all which hold Clean Label Certification. The brand, a product of its parent company, Gooder Foods, Inc., is headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA and is committed to giving away at least 1% of boxes sold to organizations that address food insecurity. GOODLES can be purchased through the e-commerce site or nationwide at retailers including Target, Whole Foods Market, Publix, HEB, Wegman’s and Sprouts Markets. The founding team of GOODLES consists of industry veterans: CEO Jen Zeszut, brand entrepreneur Paul Earle, Chief Product Officer Molly Michet, Chief Impact Officer Deb Luster, and Actress-Producer Gal Gadot. For more information, please follow us at @allgoodles or visit GOODLES.com.
ABOUT L CATTERTON
L Catterton is a market-leading consumer-focused investment firm, managing approximately $34 billion of equity capital and three multi-product platforms: private equity, credit, and real estate. Leveraging deep category insight, operational excellence, and a broad network of strategic relationships, L Catterton’s team of more than 200 investment and operating professionals across 17 offices partners with management teams to drive differentiated value creation across its portfolio. Founded in 1989, the firm has made over 250 investments in some of the world’s most iconic consumer brands. For more information about L Catterton, please visit lcatterton.com.