In a post on LinkedIn, co-founder and managing director of LoveSeitan, Steve Swindon, confirmed that the company was stopping operations after nearly six years in business.
Founded in 2017, the UK-based firm manufactured a range of seitan products including ‘burgers’ and ‘bacon’ for wholesalers and distributors. LoveSeitan also formerly supplied seitan products for retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Co-op.
However, it has now followed a growing trend of meat alternative brands that have faced financial difficulties over the past 18 months. Plant-based manufacturers such as Revolution Kitchen, Meatless Farm and Plant & Bean all went into administration during 2023.
'We could not convince enough people of the benefits of seitan'
This month (August 2023), Swindon posted an image of a meal produced using LoveSeitan products with the caption: “This is the brunch I made myself on Saturday. It is the last brunch I will make using LoveSeitan’s delicious Facon Bacon as, after almost six years, we are closing our doors.
“Tough market conditions and increasing costs have contributed to this but, at the end of the day, we could not convince enough people of the benefits of seitan. It has been an incredible journey and I’m grateful for every minute of it but it’s time to move on to something new.”
A year after the business was founded by Swindon and former director Nicholas Abear, LoveSeitan received backing from vegan activist Heather Mills through her VBites portfolio, the brand which recently saved Plant & Bean from administration.
'Quite brutal meat alternative market'
In response to the news, analyst Clive Black, a director at Shore Capital, told Food Manufacture: "LoveSeitan is another victim among several that is falling to the cost challenges of operating in the food sector these days, and the over-expectation of a number of innovators and investors as to the realities and affordability of the plant based addressable market.
"Relatively high prices, often quite complex products, and lower than anticipated consumer interest in meat substitutes, combine to make for a currently quite brutal market."
Meanwhile, Plant-based Food Alliance chief executive Marisa Heath described LoveSeitan's downfall as a "great shame".
"There is a lot of competition in this market and the small businesses struggle to find the budgets for marketing and increasing their market share for new products like this,” Heath told Food Manufacture.