The company confirmed the investment would be used to grow its team and accelerate distribution and brand building activities in markets such as the UK, US and Canada. It said it would also use the cash to fund further development of its plant-based and 100% vegan product offering, which is available through Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon in the UK.
Sproud launched in Sweden in 2018, and has expanded to 15 markets in just two years. It is available across the UK via supermarkets and online retailers such as Waitrose, Ocado, and Amazon, plus independent shops, cafés, and restaurants.
The business strives to create products with a taste, texture, and nutritional profile that closely resembles dairy milk, drawing on a proprietary blend of protein from yellow split peas, GMO-free oils and syrups, fortified with essential vitamins.
All its products contain low essential amino acids and are free from lactose, gluten, and soy. Sproud's variants contain double the amount of protein in oat milk, five times the amount in almond milk and far fewer sugars.
Sproud targets consumers ranging from full-time vegans, who constitute 10% of its customer base, to a larger number of flexitarians, and those seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Founded in 2011 by managing partner Parminder Basran, London-based VGC Partners is a growth capital investor specialising in innovative early-stage consumer, media and tech companies. The firm has seen enormous potential for investing in the next generation food and beverages space in recent years, with portfolio companies including JUST a plant-based alternative to eggs, and Ugly Drinks, a producer of zero-sugar sparkling water and energy drinks.
“We have reached a stage where most people are now aware of the positive impacts that swapping dairy for vegan substitutes would have on our planet and health,” said Nicklas Jungberg, co-founder and chairman of the board at Sproud.
Taste, nutritional content
“What’s left is for consumers to truly act on this, but we don’t think forcing people to change their food preferences is the way forward. By matching the tastes that they are used to, and the nutritional content typically provided through dairy products, we know we can make a huge impact. And with the support of Parminder and the team at VGC, we feel confident that positive change can now be achieved faster, and on a much greater scale.”
Parminder Basran, founder and managing partner at VGC Partners, said: “Through our experience of backing innovative food and drink brands, we have a deep understanding of the plant-based market, including from the perspective of evolving consumer demands and the cutting-edge product innovation that is catering to this.
"We believe Sproud has the potential to become a global leader in the huge and growing dairy alternative market, owing not only to its superior taste and nutrition profile, but also due to its positive environmental and sustainability credentials.”
Sproud is headquartered in Malmö, Sweden, where it employs a team of six. In the Nordics, Sproud supplies its plant-based milk to some of the largest hospitality chains of the region, including Espresso House and Clarion Hotel.
The company’s investors include VGC Partners, Findeln Holding, a Malmö-based, family-owned investment company in which Sproud co-founder Nicklas Jungberg is a majority shareholder, and Swedish investment group Dream Beverage. To date, the company has raised £8.7m to support its growth.