Mills to resurrect vegan empire with £1m rescue package

Heather Mills

Heather Mills, the model-turned-entrepreneur, has rescued her vegan food empire after landing a £1m deal to buy her company out of administration.

James Clark and Howard Smith from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators to VBites Foods Limited on Monday 11 December.

However, Mills has raised £1m to buy back VBites, which was formed in 1993 and collapsed owing £8.3m to creditors.

The firm’s 64 staff have all been made redundant, but Mills has told The Grocer that she will rehire 40 workers.

VBites operated from two manufacturing sites in Peterlee, County Durham, and Corby, Northamptonshire.

In a statement, Mills said: “I was devastated when VBites was forced, unnecessarily with three days notice, into administration.

“It was agreed between both shareholders that we would always give each other three months notice, knowing the figures six months ahead set for the company, so I was doubly shocked that it went straight into administration, even though I gave viable solutions. But I strongly believed that the next-generation technology that VBites had developed and the work it had done still had a huge role to play in assisting the transition of the food market to a healthier and more sustainable place.

“I was also not happy being told that many of my loyal and hard-working staff were losing their jobs.”

Mills says that she and her team have developed “version 2.0” of plant-based food, soon to launch, that she believe will be a “market mover”, adding: “Watch this space.”

She said: “This is why I have chosen to resurrect the company myself, at great personal expense, and take control of the operations personally, moving back to the North-East to ensure that we are still able to make a positive contribution to the future of our global food economy.”

When administrators were called in to VBites in December, Mills said the company had “fallen victim to the galvanised misinformation currently being undertaken by the meat and dairy industries as well as corporate greed in [the] market.”