Coldpress has it sights on brands such as Innocent and Tropicana

Coldpress has secured more than £2m from a private consumer fund as health-conscious shoppers continue to shun traditional soft drinks in favour of cold-pressed juices and smoothies.

It is the first investment in food & drink by the Odexia Consumer Brand Fund, a joint venture between investment firm Odexia and specialist corporate finance advisory house Marechale Capital.

The fund, which invests £300,000 to £1m in companies with “high-growth potential”, is eyeing further fmcg targets.

Coldpress sold a significant minority stake for the £2.3m injection - made up of £1m from the Odexia fund and a co-investment from Marechale’s family office and high-net worth clients.

It plans to use the money to rapidly build its distribution capability beyond grocery, where it has listings in 3,500 Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Whole Foods Market, into food to go, the on-trade and private label.

“We feel it is the perfect moment to forge ahead, expand our sales and marketing function, accelerate our unrivalled innovation pipeline and open up other influential distribution channels both at home and abroad,” founder Andrew Gibb told The Grocer.

Coldpress recently won listings in Boots, where it launched a range of fruit-flavoured coconut waters, with 25% less sugar than regular fruit juice. It is also stocked by Greggs and in the on-trade by Mitchells & Butlers and All Bar One.

“Our cold-pressed rivals mainly play in the veggie juice space, but we are tackling the war on sugar by pushing cold-pressed into other channels,” Gibb said.

“Coldpress is not a niche play; we are a mainstream brand and our aim is to take back share from the likes of Innocent and Tropicana.

“We see enormous growth in healthy soft drinks and we have a great competitive advantage because of the high-pressure processing (HPP) process. HPP is booming in the US and the category is here to stay.”

HPP uses high pressure at a constant low temperature to kill bacteria rather than pasteurising the juice at high temperatures like traditional rivals.

Revenues at Coldpress, which launched in 2006, hit £3.6m in 2016, with projections for further growth in 2017 to £5.8m. Gibb added that 2018 was set to be the “big year of accelerated growth”.

The Grocer’s category report into soft drinks in February showed Coldpress, which also has smoothies, sparkling fruit waters and veggie juices in its range, was one of a handful of the bestselling juice brands to register rapid sales growth, with Tropicana, Innocent, Copella and Ocean Spray all hit by the sugar debate.

Odexia founder Carl Atkinson, who joins the Coldpress board, said: “We were suitably impressed by a well-run and profitable operation that successfully taps into today’s accelerating healthier living concerns.

“Odexia were especially encouraged by Coldpress’s robust financials that are all too rare among ambitious, modern-day growth companies. It is a well-managed operation that sits comfortably amongst our growing family of opinion-forming disruptor brands.”

Odexia has made four investments since launching in late 2015, including Coldpress and three other businesses in the wider consumer and beauty space.

Marechale director Jeremy Stephenson said he expected the fund to invest in a food brand and another drinks maker before the end of its next financial year in April 2018.

“The market trend is towards healthy eating and locally sourced provenance so I expect the next investment to be in that space,” he said. “But the story has got to stack up from a growth prospect and the business needs to have a capable and experience management team in place.”