Source: Manilife

Manilife plans to develop new products using the crowd money, with a minimum of two launches a year

Manilife has blitzed an £830k crowdfunding round as the peanut butter brand eyes new grocery listings and increased consumer awareness.

At the time of publishing, the business has secured more than £1m from almost 300 backers on a valuation of £11.6m, with the money raised from a mix of angel investors prior to the Seedrs launch on Monday and the crowd.

Stuart Macdonald founded Manilife in 2015 and has since grown sales to £4m, with more than 10,000 distribution points, including with Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Planet Organic and Whole Foods, as well as Amazon and Ocado online and in Costa with its branded mini pots

It’s also an ingredient supplier to Hotel Chocolat, Crosstown Doughnuts and Leon, and it has sold more than six-million mini pots to recipe box partners Gousto and Mindful Chef.

Macdonald sees huge potential to boost household penetration by increasing supermarket listings with the likes of Tesco the remaining grocers where the brand is not yet stocked.

“In the last three years ManiLife has almost quadrupled in size, and in the face of some pretty serious disruption,” he told The Grocer.

“With the business back on a solid foundation, I am practically giddy with excitement for this next phase.

“When you consider that over 90% of UK peanut butter consumers still don’t know who we are and add to this the degree of extreme evangelism we get from those that do know us, the potential is absolutely immense.”

Cult following

Manilife has garnered a cult following by adopting the principles typically seen in craft categories such as coffee and chocolate, with single estate sourcing of peanuts from an Argentinian farm and small batch production.

The brand’s range include six peanut butters, including a dark roast and a cocoa variant, but Macdonald plans to expand NPD using the crowd money, with a minimum of two new launches a year.

At the end of 2022, Manilife extended beyond peanut butter for the first time with cocoa-dusted snacking peanuts. Spreads and other adjacent categories are also being targeted.

The crowd raise will also be invested behind trade marketing and promotions, brand marketing, the supply chain to expand capacity and improve margins, and into working capital.

Manilife has previously raised just more than £1.3m from the crowd across three past rounds.

Manilife broke into the top five peanut butter brands in retail in 2022, according to The Grocer’s Top Product Survey.

It held on to sales growth in the face of wider category decline - affecting bigger rivals Whole Earth, Sun-Pat and Meridian - as consumer demand softened after pandemic expansion.