Ontario-based Nuts For Cheese, maker of dairy-free, plant-based, artisanal cheeses, has announced a $5.35 million round of funding led by Forage Capital Partners along with CPG veterans Mike Fata and Dror Balshine.

Founded in 2015 by vegan chef, Margaret Coons, Nuts For Cheese self-manufacturers its complete line of fermented cashew-based cheeses and butters with house-made cultures in a certified organic facility without the use of any starches, gums, fillers or artificial flavors. The investment will go towards CAPEX for equipment and facility enhancements to support the rapidly growing consumer demand as well as towards key hires, innovation and marketing initiatives. The company will also be implementing a board of directors led by Mike Fata as chairman of the board.

“From the early days I've worked hard to surround myself with the right partners,” says Margaret Coons, CEO and founder at Nuts For Cheese. “It’s been such a journey, from a rented commercial kitchen to building out our current 25,000 sq.-ft. facility. What once looked huge to me is now quickly becoming ready for more expansion. This investment comes at a perfect time for us to be able to keep pace with our growth and I couldn't be happier partnering with a company like Forage which has extensive experience in the food space and such an incredible team.”

According to Nielsen data, the non-dairy cheese category is growing 21% and fueled by an increasing number of consumers adding more plant-based products to their baskets. Per Spins data, 62% or 79 million U.S. households are now buying plant-based products. Since its founding days sold at farmers markets, Nuts For Cheese has quickly expanded into more than 1,900 retail outlets in Canada, including Sobey’s, Fortinos and Save On Foods and almost 2,000 doors in the U.S. made up of a few regions of Whole Foods Market and many strong independent chains with the most recent national launch into Sprouts Farmer’s Market in June.