PE firm invests £15m in ingredients supplier Vegetarian Express

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Vegetarian Express CEO Dave Webster with finance director Hiten Patel. Credit: NVM / Vegetarian Express
Vegetarian Express CEO Dave Webster with finance director Hiten Patel. Credit: NVM / Vegetarian Express

Related tags Investment

NVM Private Equity has announced that it has completed a £15m investment into ingredients supplier Vegetarian Express.

The Watford-based B Corp-certified business specialises in supplying vegetarian and vegan ingredients to foodservice and catering businesses across the UK.

Founded in 1987, Vegetarian Express plans to use the investment to propel its expansion into Ireland, while enhancing its operational capabilities, supporting its existing customer base and strengthening its digital offering.

Vegetarian Express was previously owned by Bridges Fund Management, which first invested in the business in late 2016. Since then, it has more than doubled revenues while averting an estimated 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by directly replacing meat or dairy products.

Commenting on the investment, CEO Dave Webster said: “The management team and I are incredibly proud of what we’ve delivered in the last seven years, which has seen the professionalisation of Vegetarian Express into the UK’s leading plant-based category specialist to the foodservice sector. For the next stage of our growth journey, we’re excited to be partnering with private equity firm NVM. NVM’s backing will enable us to scale faster and help even more customers get brilliant-plant-based food on their menus​.”

‘Vegetarian Express well positioned for future growth’

The investment was led by Mauro Biagioni and Alex Wilson on the NVM side and is the private equity firm’s eighth transaction in 12 months.

Biagioni, an investment partner of NVM, said that the firm was pleased to back Vegetarian Express and support Webster on the next phase of its “growth journey​”.

The business is a true category specialist, with an excellent reputation for its extensive range of high-quality authentic products​,” Biagioni added.

“ESG is at the heart of the business, and with new investment, a highly experienced management team and its reputation for outstanding customer service, Vegetarian Express is well positioned for considerable future growth.”

Meanwhile, Emma Thorne, partner at Bridges, wished the outstanding team the best for the future.

We invested in Vegetarian Express because we believed there was a clear commercial and impact opportunity in helping consumers reduce their meat consumption by switching to plant-based meals​,” continued Thorne.

In Vegetarian Express, we identified a best-in-class provider with strong growth potential that also shared our values. The business has grown substantially over the course of our investment diversifying its offering, expanding its own-brand range and launching its unique Seedbank tool for chefs​.”

In other news, from summer job to FMEA winner: Kate Clawson reflects on her food industry journey.

Related topics Supply Chain Plant-Based

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