Uncle Matt's Organic®, an organic orange and grapefruit juice brand, has been welcomed back home to founder and CEO, Matt McLean, who built and subsequently sold the company to Dean Foods in 2017. This unexpected homecoming also includes a new parent company named Harmoni, Inc., and an advisory team of investors.
Dean Foods purchased Uncle Matt's in June of 2017 and retained the team to continue running the business, including McLean and his wife, Susan McLean, who oversees marketing. In November of 2019, Dean Foods filed for bankruptcy after struggling with shifting consumer preferences, private label competition and a reduction in milk processing. This unique situation presented an opportunity for McLean to bid for the beloved brand he started.
"If you told me three years ago after selling to a publicly-traded, multi-billion dollar CPG leader that I'd buy Uncle Matt's Organic back out of bankruptcy, I wouldn't have believed you," said Matt McLean, Uncle Matt's Organic founder and CEO. "When Dean's financial distress took a saddening and unfortunate turn, it became a rare opportunity for us to purchase Uncle Matt's to expand distribution, innovate into new categories, and educate consumers on the intrinsic health benefits of buying organic," he continued.
The McLean family is now supported by a powerhouse of successful industry investors including:
• Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Organic
• John Foraker, former CEO of Annie's and co-founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm
• Andrew Abraham, MD, CEO and founder at Orgain
• Nicole & Peter Dawes, founders of Late July Snacks & Nixie Sparkling Water
• Matt Rogers, founder of Nest and Incite.or
• Renewal Funds, a mission venture capital firm with a commitment to supporting organic companies, also participated.
"Uncle Matt's is one of America's truly legendary organic brands," said Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Organic. "From their very start, the McLean family has been at the forefront of meshing the most advanced ecological sciences together with a maniacal dedication to extraordinary taste and nutrition. As a long-time fan and friend, I am thrilled to be their partner for the next leg of this exciting health and taste adventure," he added.