‘Eclipse’s ice cream is in a league of its own…’ Sozo Ventures leads $40m series B round at plant-based dairy co Eclipse Foods

Founded by Eat Just R&D exec Thomas Bowman (CTO) and former Bridebox marketer and Good Food Institute advisor Aylon Steinhart (CEO) in December 2018, Oakland-based Eclipse Foods Launched in late 2019 promising to disrupt the plant-based ice cream category with products that “actually taste like dairy ice cream.”​

Eclipse – which says its technology can apply to multiple dairy categories including milk, cheese, butter, yogurts and desserts – has since picked up business with retailers including Whole Foods, Vons, Albertsons, New Seasons, Central Market, Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres, Gelson’s Market, and GoPuff; and a flurry of foodservice accounts including Afters Ice Cream, the LA Dodger Stadium, Mel’s Original, Silver Diner, and SmashBurger, which recently launched Eclipse plant-based milkshakes nationwide.

And so far, the repeat rates are pretty encouraging, Steinhart told FoodNavigator-USA. “We’re the fastest selling plant-based ice cream in Whole Foods NorCal, and the number two in Pavilions in SoCal.”

Replicating the micellular structures in dairy milk

Eclipse ice cream combines sugar, canola oil, canola protein, food starches (potato, cassava etc), tapioca maltodextrin and tapioca syrup (see box below) and can be manufactured on traditional dairy ice cream lines, “so we don’t need to introduce any wildly different complex custom manufacturing processes or equipment, which from a business perspective is extremely important because it means we can scale way faster and way more affordably,” claimed Steinhart.

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