Patrick Higgins, food & beverage analyst at Goodbody commented: “Britvic’s acquisition of Plenish is clearly a good strategic move, expanding its presence in the fast-growing category of plant-based nutrition.
"This is in line with the group’s greater focus on sustainability, a rising priority for many businesses both within and beyond the food & beverage sector, and follows its acquisition of The Boiling Tap Company in November.”
Britvic said the transaction was closely aligned with its strategy of building a portfolio of soft drinks brands for every consumer occasion and its focus on accessing new opportunities in soft drinks.
The company said it recognised the opportunity presented by the fast-growing plant-based drinks segment, with plant-based milks set to achieve retail sales values of over £500m by 2024. The non-soya plant-based milks market had grown more than tenfold over the past decade, Britvic observed, and was swiftly becoming a mainstream category, with consumers favouring healthier, plant-based products over dairy.
The transaction also served to strengthen Britvic’s Healthier People, Healthier Planet sustainability agenda, it said. The group is committed to ensuring its products help consumers enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Healthy nutrition is at the core of Plenish’s brand with a range of products containing low-calorie, natural ingredients certified organic by the Soil Association.
As an accredited B-Corporation [a private certification for social and environmental performance] and a certified carbon negative business, Plenish’s environmental strategy would benefit Britvic’s Healthier Planet commitments, it claimed.
Plenish, which is based in Exmoor Street, West London, produces plant-based milks and plant-powered juice drinks from organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients for top grocery retail channels such as Waitrose and Ocado.
Kara Rosen set up the business in 2012 after looking for alternative solutions to deal with a recurring health issue. A native New Yorker, Kara moved to the UK and soon realised that there were no cold-pressed juices in the British market free of sugar.
Plant-based milks and juices
Rosen decided to make her own juices and nut milks using mainly green vegetables from organic origin. Since then, Plenish has become one of the fastest growing plant-based milks brand in the UK, while its juice-led direct-to-consumer business continues to double annually.
“In only a short time, Plenish has built a hugely impressive brand offering a fantastic range of products that cater to the growing demand for healthy and nutritious juices and plant-based milks," said Britvic's chief executive officer Simon Litherland. "We see tremendous potential in Plenish that we look forward to realising in the years ahead.”
Kara Rosen, founder of Plenish, said: “I started Plenish nine years ago in my kitchen to help make it easy and delicious for people to improve their health and make a positive impact for the planet. Our plant-based drinks are still made like I originally made them at home-- with ingredients sourced from sustainable, organic farms and no additives."
She said she had long-admired Britvic 'as a brilliant builder of brands and similar values, particularly around healthier people and planet'.
Plenish has grown from the UK’s first cold-pressed juice company, hand-making organic drinks in founder Kara Rosen's kitchen, to one of the UK’s fastest growing plant-based drinks brands. The company aims to draw on only a handful of natural ingredients and no additives. It achieved B-Corp status in 2021.