Meatless Farm raises £24m for global expansion

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Meatless Farm sells products in the top four supermarket chains
Meatless Farm sells products in the top four supermarket chains

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Plant-based manufacturer Meatless Farm, has raised $31m (£24m) to support plans to grow in the UK, Europe, US and Asia.

The funding follows a previous round of $17m raised by the company. The latest tranche of cash has come from a mixture of existing and new private and family office investors, all of whom have a commitment to sustainable investing.

According to the business, the proceeds would be used to expand and further establish the brand in existing markets, access new regions, expand product lines, and further develop manufacturing in Canada. The firm also aims to broaden its product portfolio.

NPD plan

A spokeswoman for Meatless Farm told Food Manufacture: "Consumer demand for plant-based options is growing exponentially. We have a very exciting NPD​ [new product development] plan in place, but importantly we won’t rush innovation to market. The category is at a tipping point and getting it right is much more important than being first if we want to really convert meat eaters.

"Our core range delivers on family staples; mince, sausages and burgers but we will be broadening our portfolio to look at other meat equivalents. We want to make it easy for consumers to swap out meat and range is critical to achieving that goal. Different eating cultures across the world are also playing a role in how we develop products. Our core range serves many markets but there are local nuances that provide lots of opportunity for us to develop new ideas."​ 

The plant-based food market is expected to grow by 17% to $4.2bn in 2021, driven by increasing awareness of the health and environmental benefits of cutting down on meat. Meatless Farm aims to expand in all its key markets and to grow its product range. It has offices in Leeds, Amsterdam, New York and Singapore and expects to continue its double digit sales growth in the years to come.

Advertising campaign

This summer Meatless Farm ran a UK advertising campaign aimed at converting meat eaters and focusing on the more meaty taste of the new formula burgers and sausages. The campaign included traditional print advertising, branded electric cars driving through London, billboards and bus signs, and a Meatless drive-through restaurant as well as radio and TV adverts.

“We are seeing strong demand for our plant-based burgers, sausages and mince across all markets and fantastic opportunities to grow the Meatless Farm brand rapidly as people look to eat more healthily and sustainably post COVID-19,"​ said Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm.

"Our ambition is to continue to expand our global operations organically whilst also looking to participate in M&A [merger and acquisition] activities around the consolidation of smaller plant-based companies." 

The funding round was managed by recently appointed Meatless Farm director, Leopoldo Zambeletti, who has more than 20 years investment banking experience at firms including JP Morgan and Credit Suisse.

“This funding round gives Meatless Farm the ability to take advantage of consumers’ desire to change lifestyles as people aim to ‘build back better’ in the wake of COVID-19,"​ said Zambeletti.

Lockdown challenges

"Fundraising during the lockdown brought its own unique challenges, but the strength of the brand, the sustainable mission, the excellent management team and proven execution to date resonated well with existing and new investors alike.” 

Launched in Leeds in 2016, Meatless Farm spent more than two years blending, researching, experimenting, and trialling different recipes and ingredients to create its range before launching in 2018.

Products under the brand are now sold in the top four UK supermarket chains, in Whole Foods in the US, and in many other countries. Sales are growing at nearly 180% a year on a like-for-like basis in the UK and the company sees itself as a serious contender in the global plant-based market, alongside US groups Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. 

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