Fast growing vegan food brand offers consumers a share of the meat free pie

Plant-based food producer Meatless Farm is offering consumers the chance to grab a share of the meat free pie by launching its first retail investor funding round through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The Leeds-based firm which has already received investment from Channel 4 and last year raised a further £24m. Through this latest funding round, it’s first not limited to larger investors, the company which was founded in 2016 is seeking to raise up to £5m to fund innovation, expansion and work towards being a regenerative company.

The funding round is expected to be one of the largest campaigns conducted on Crowdcube and will offer the opportunity to buy in to the brand which hit shelves in 2018, and has experienced rapid growth now operating in 20 countries, for £10. The investments will take the form of a convertible note which convert to shares at a discounted price during the next corporate equity funding round, expected towards the end of 2021.

Over the last three years the company has emerged as one of UK’s top three best known plant-based brands, alongside established businesses like Quorn and Linda McCartney and recorded 148% year-on-year net sales growth in 2020, out-performing a fast-growing category.

2021 continued the success, starting with its biggest ever sales month during Veganuary, a new partnership with Pret, Leon and itsu as well as Nathans Famous in the USNow looking to the future, Meatless Farm’s ambition is to build a sustainable global food system that supports and nurtures biodiversity and reduces the world’s dependency on intensively-farmed meat. However it highlights that the business is not anti-meat or pro-vegan but is instead focused on inspiring “meat-lessers” to eat more plant-based by providing tasty, healthy, affordable ways to make more everyday meals meat free.

This latest milestone in Meatless Farm’s global journey follows a whirlwind start to 2021, with the biggest ever sales month in “Veganuary”, new partnerships with high-street brands Pret, Leon and itsu, a global sustainable nutrition drive with football giants Real Madrid, a partnership with world champion cyclist Mark Cavendish and the opening of new state-of-the-art plant-protein facilities in Canada and the Netherlands.

The market for plant-based food is experiencing exponential growth fuelled by growing consumer appetite for alternatives amid increasing awareness of the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat. It’s estimated that the overall global plant protein market will grow by 700% by 2035, resulting in a market worth approximately $290 billion.

Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm

Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm said: “We are reaching a tipping point where replacing meat with plant-based protein a couple of times a week is no longer niche, but we know that it’s people power which will create a full-blown revolution in food culture. That rests on driving awareness around the importance of reducing meat for the environment and the impact that even little changes can have. For example, in a country like the UK we could reduce around 8% of the UK’s total emissions if we all ate just one less meat meal per week.

“We want to help accelerate this through the retail and foodservice relationships we have, the countries we operate in and the range of products we offer. Innovation is critical to the category, with taste-, texture- and price-parity with meat the key to unlocking the full potential of the market. We are therefore investing heavily in the entire supply chain, ‘from farm to fork’, working with farmers to get the best crops, setting up state-of-the-art plant protein facilities to produce even better ingredients and recruiting top food development chefs and nutritionists to evolve and improve our products even further and come up with exciting new plant-based options such as pizza toppings, chicken, and a new range of snacks and meal solutions. All of this works against a backdrop of sustainability as we embed our commitment to regenerative business growth, work towards B- Corp status and seek to rebalance biodiversity in the global food system.

“Our consumers are central to Meatless Farm, so by opening up to individual investors at this stage we can offer the investment opportunity at a time when we have demonstrable momentum and the chance to provide funding which will help drive both Meatless Farm and the category forward, recognising that big change is only possible when we all work together.”

Bridford Investments Ltd is providing cornerstone investment for this round.