Better Nature curry tempeh

Source: Better Nature

Better Nature is set to launch in 400 Tesco stores in June

Plant-based startup Better Nature has kicked off a £3m fundraising push to take its tempeh brand into the mainstream and support its first UK supermarket listing.

The Series A round is being led by institutional, strategic and angel investors, with the campaign launched on the GrowthDeck equity crowdfunding platform, which is aimed at high net worth individuals and investor networks.

Funding will be used to drive retail and foodservice growth for its tempeh range in the UK and Europe, starting with the launch in 400 Tesco stores on 1 June, closely followed by another major UK supermarket in July.

It will also support existing listings with Selfridges and Planet Organic in the UK, and Germany’s second-largest retailer Rewe, alongside partnerships with Allplants and Mindful Chef. Cash will be used to aid expansion across Europe and into the US, meanwhile.

Tempeh-based burger

Better Nature said the raise would help push further NPD and allow the brand to create mainstream appeal with the development of tempeh-based burgers, falafels and veggie balls.

“With Better Nature set to grow 300% by the end of 2023, this raise consolidates our position as Europe’s go-to tempeh brand and marks the year we take tempeh mainstream in the UK,” said co-founder Christopher Kong.

Founded in 2018 and launched to market in 2020, Better Nature specialises in products using tempeh, a fermented plant-based protein source typically made from soyabeans.

Its range includes Smoky Tempeh Rashers and Curry Tempeh Pieces, as well as the bestselling plain variant.

“When we founded the brand four years ago, tempeh was a niche product in the UK market,” Kong added. “Now, we’re launching into Tesco and scaling up wider distribution across retail and foodservice in Europe.

“The market is moving towards more natural and healthful products, which opens up a huge opportunity for tempeh, which is 100% natural, gut-friendly, and packed with protein and fibre.”

Plant-based protein

As the customer base widens, getting the messaging right would be key, Kong said.

“We’re not trying to compete with meat alternatives, which mimic the texture and taste of meat. Instead, we’re celebrating tempeh as a plant-based protein in its own right.

“For shoppers who are new to tempeh, convenience is also important. Our NPD will be focused on introducing people to tempeh in tried and tested formats that are familiar and convenient.

“As a brand, our mission has always been to help more people live healthier lives through tempeh, and we’re proud to be steering its journey to the mainstream.”

The Series A raise follows a £1.6m seed round in 2021 and a £700k seed-plus round late last year.

Peter Marsh, non-executive director at Better Nature and former Planet Organic CEO, added: “Over the course of my career I’ve been involved with a number of brands who have demonstrated genuine potential to go the distance.

“Better Nature is one of them. This is a significant milestone in the brand’s journey to make tempeh mainstream, and we are on course to make tempeh a household name in the UK and beyond.”