Having raised more than $400,000 in equity funding, Halifax’s Clever Fruit Products has announced new directors to its board who it says will add top-flight expertise and connections.

The company, which is developing new berry-based food ingredients, said its board now includes: Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a health expert and product developer; Dean Mosca, a natural products industry veteran; and entrepreneur and financier Michael Mailman.

Clever Fruits has raised more than $400,000 from investors, and added more than $500,000 in non-dilutive financing, which allowed it to increase its staff to eight people.

“Our team is humbled and excited to be working with these experienced and engaged board members,” said Clever Fruit President Liam Tayler in a statement. “Lorna is an industry leader in natural product marketing and development, and Dean has significant relevant experience in customer engagement and product launch execution. The timing is ideal as Clever prepares to launch its first fermented supplement product, a fermented wild blueberry ingredient.”

Clever Fruit started as a juice maker five years ago then discovered a process that dries blueberries and other fruits into a powder that can be added to foods to enhance health benefits. It has said tests on animals determined that its product reduces bad cholesterols by 40 percent – far better than what’s now on the market.

A company spokesperson said Vanderhaeghe is already working closely with Clever’s lead scientist, Steve Ewart, formerly the Head of Biology at Ocean Nutrition Canada, to finish the design of the fermented wild blueberry ingredient. The company began its first commercialized production run of the ingredient this week and expects to launch in March or April.

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Clever Fruit next week will begin the final pre-clinical trial of its natural cholesterol management ingredient, a new product for which it has received global interest, said the spokesperson. Mosca has connected the company with some of the world’s largest manufacturers of natural nutrition products, she added, and they are eager to secure supply for their food and supplement businesses. 

“Clever is pursuing a very important area of nutritional science,” said Vanderhaeghe. “The fermentation of fruit polyphenols creates postbiotics that have shown direct immunomodulatory and clinically relevant effects for a range of diseases for use in improving overall health.”

The author of 13 books, Vanderhaeghe has been a thought leader for the nutrition industry for over 35 years. She was the founder, CEO and creator of a top-selling line of women’s nutritional supplements at Lorna Vanderhaeghe Health Solutions, which she sold to Jamieson Laboratories in 2014.

With more than 25 years of experience in the natural products industry, Mosca was the founder and CEO of Proprietary Nutritionals Inc., one of the first premier branded ingredients companies in the nutritional supplement space. He sold the company to Pharmachem Laboratories in 2017.

Mailman has more than 25 years of executive experience in sales, corporate development and corporate finance. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of the largest North American multi-store operator of uBreakiFix franchises.

“Clever’s board appointments are an important corporate milestone,” said Executive Chairman Sean Sears. “These highly accomplished executives bring a breadth of industry expertise and relationships at a time where Clever is gearing up for a highly successful year ahead.”