The partnership will see the broadcaster take equity in the British company in exchange for commercial airtime across its channel portfolio. The total deal, combining the investment from Channel 4 and the value of the advertising and marketing campaign is worth seven figures.
The announcement came as British food technology company Moving Mountains unveiled an expanded range with its new Moving Mountains Banger, a meatless sausage made with all-natural ingredients and a sizzling skin created from algae.
The Meatless Farm Co has quickly become a serious contender in the global plant-based market, alongside Beyond Burger and Impossible Foods. Started by Morten Toft Bech in 2016, the company has created a range of meat alternatives using plant proteins and has secured listings with retailers Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Whole Foods Market stores across the US.
The investment will see The Meatless Farm Co’s brand-new TV advertising campaign initially run regionally across Channel 4’s main channel and streaming service, All 4. The newly-launched campaign showcases the company’s taste and texture credentials with a series of delicious plant-based meals, perfect for families and friends. The campaign follows significant marketing investment as the brand continues to grow in a global market predicted to reach $27.9bn by 2025 (Meat Substitute Market report by Visiongain, 2018).
‘Reduce red meat consumption’
“Our mission is to make it easy for people to reduce their red meat consumption by switching to plant-based meat alternatives,” said Toft Bech. “Channel 4 has always been at the forefront of social change and this investment is a pivotal moment in The Meatless Farm Co’s journey. Channel 4’s audience, as well as its environmental and ethical values align strongly with ours and we are very much looking forward to the future.”
Vinay Solanki, head of Commercial Growth Fund at Channel 4, said: “This is an exciting investment for Channel 4 as we extend our Commercial Growth Fund investment portfolio into a new sector and support an innovative Leeds-based company with an impressive entrepreneurial management team. The plant-based market is a huge growth area as people, particularly young people, are increasingly seeking plant-based alternatives to meat.
“The Meatless Farm Co’s innovation and sustainability credentials are inspiring, and we hope that through advertising across our channel portfolio and reaching our valuable core 16- to 34-year-old audience, we’ll help support their impact and growth journey.”
The investment in The Meatless Farm Co, a local Yorkshire business, comes as Channel 4 is soon to launch its new National HQ in Leeds. Increasingly, companies are expanding investment outside of London.
Toft Bech added: “The northern powerhouse is fuelling some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the country, not to mention our demand for plant-based eating.”
Meanwhile, Richard Parr, managing director of Good Food Institute Europe, an independent non-profit organisation accelerating plant-based and cell-based meat, eggs, and dairy, said he was pleased to see Moving Mountains’ initiative.
“Moving Mountains’ latest addition to its plant portfolio opens up more options for those looking for the taste, sizzle and texture of meat, but without harming animals or the planet,” said Parr.
“It is truly inspiring to see companies like Moving Mountains using scientific processes and natural ingredients to closely replicate meat without compromising on taste. Years of research and testing goes into these products, and consumers are now reaping the rewards.”
- Elsewhere, Oumph! is launching into a new UK segment with plant-based food-to-go products in collaboration with Bristol-based Real Wrap Co, which produces 13m food-to-go products each year across the UK. Distribution for the range starts on 30 September into over 35 universities across the UK, as well as hospitals, schools, colleges and retail outlets. The launch includes both cold and hot eats, focusing on global fusion and bold flavours, including a ‘Philly Style’ Sourdough Hot Pocket and BBQ Sriracha Baguette. “We are extremely excited to be working with Oumph!,” said Chloe Somerville, head of brand at Real Wrap Co. “The demand for innovative plant-based food-to-go is growing daily, particularly with the rise of flexitarians looking to reduce meat consumption. For us, Oumph! has been the perfect meat alternative due to the amazing taste and texture, making it ideal for sandwiches and hot eats.” Anna-Kajsa Lidell, co-founder & head of progress strategy at Oumph! and Food for Progress, of which Oumph! is a part, said: “The Real Wrap Co is a perfect partner for us, as they share our values in creating plant-based foods, which focuses on food appeal.” Oumph! products are made from soya beans and organic herb and spice mixes. In the UK, the company supplies Tesco, Asda, Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods Market, As Nature Intended, independent retailers, and café and restaurant chains.