Plant-based food start-up strikes deal to supply major sports and music venues

James Buckley from Levy

A Manchester-based food start-up specialising in plant-based products has signed with major sports and entertainment caterer Levy UK + I to supply a range of meat-free burgers and sausages to its UK venues.

The deal between Herblabism and Levy UK + I follows a successful collaboration between the two to get new plant-based burgers and sausages onto the official COP26 menu in Glasgow last month.

Levy, which supplies venues including Chelsea FC, Aston Villa, O2 Arena, and Wembley, was the official catering partner at the SEC and created a menu that was 60% meat-free and 40% plant-based/vegan.

The plant-based range sold during the 12-day event included 7,500 Herblabism mushroom burgers and 6,000 Herbalism plant-based sausages, both of which were developed in partnership with Levy’s Director of Culinary, James Buckley.

James said: “Collaborating with an exciting and innovative plant-based start-up like Herblabism, which shares the same sustainable vision as Levy, is a great way for us to drive food innovation and change behaviours across the entire food supply chain.

“Levy is also completely committed to a low carbon, plant-forward strategy. This is something which we clearly demonstrated through our meat-free COP26 menus which accounted for 60% of our total sales. In comparison, our beef-based sales were less than 2%.

“We see Herblabism’s products playing a key role in helping us deliver our Net Zero vision – and we look forward to working closely with them further to supply more of our venues across the UK going forward.”

Dr Vincent Walsh, founder of Herblabism, said the start-up was just at the beginning of its ambitious journey to revolutionise the way food is cultivated, manufactured and supplied in the UK and that it is “much more than just plant-based products.”

“Our vision is one where Herblabism makes an impact in every part of the supply chain, becoming central to the entire ‘farm to fork’ food journey,” he said.

“This spans innovations in circular farming practices, and sourcing better ingredients for our products, through to innovations in the processing of products, their packaging, and their distribution.

“So, while I am incredibly proud that our mushroom burgers and plant-based sausages were so well received at globally significant event like COP26 – and I’m very excited about extending our fantastic partnership with Levy – our ultimate aim is to create a food business which is clean, transparent, efficient, localised, and decentralised.”

He added: “I also want to create a sustainable, cost-effective food production model which will be an exemplar for others as we all look to meet the challenges of climate change.”

In addition to being sold through Levy UK + I partner venues, a selection of Herblabism products will soon be available directly to the consumer through their website.

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