Erwin Meijer joins the Meatless Farm board after 25 years in leadership roles at Lidl and will oversee plans to expand across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
According to Meatless Farm, Dutch national Meijer helped Lidl to develop from a small German retailer to one of the largest supermarket groups in the world.
His recruitment follows that of former Lidl global chief executive Jesper Højer who joined Meatless Farm as its chair at the end of last year.
Meatless Farm, which was only formed in the UK in 2016 and has headquarters in Leeds, has set up a European hub in Amsterdam and has also opened a North American office in New York and an Asian bureau in Singapore.
Meijer joined Lidl in Portugal in 1994 and held various roles across the supermarket group, leading expansion in the Netherlands and across Scandinavia and working closely with Højer.
“I am convinced that Meatless Farm will become one of the global players in plant-based food, and to be part of such an exciting company is a challenge I relish,” said Meijer.
“I grew with Lidl and will always love them, but Meatless Farm’s ethos appeals to my entrepreneurial spirit and is in tune with my own personal beliefs about healthy and environmentally sustainable food production.”
Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm, added: “Having someone with Erwin’s experience and enthusiasm on the board will help Meatless Farm expand rapidly across Europe. There are so many opportunities for Meatless Farm as consumers globally look for ways to reduce the amount of red meat in their and their families’ diets.”
Meatless Farm started selling its products in 2018 and they are now sold in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, among others across the UK. It is also sold through Whole Foods Market nationally in the US, Coop in Switzerland and multiple other international markets.
The UK business grew 149% in its first year of trading and the company is targeting annualised sales of £20m by the end of 2020.