Vegan brand The Meatless Farm Co has raised $31m (£24m) in a new funding round to support growth plans in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia.
The cash comes from a mixture of existing and new private and family office investors, who have all committed to sustainable investing.
The proceeds will be used to expand and further establish the Yorkshire-headquartered brand in existing markets, access new regions, expand the product lines and further build out the manufacturing operations in Canada.
“We are seeing strong demand for our plant-based burgers, sausages and mince across all markets and see fantastic opportunities to grow the Meatless Farm brand rapidly as people look to eat more healthily and sustainably post-Covid-19,” said founder Morten Toft Bech.
“Our ambition is to continue to expand our global operations organically whilst also looking to participate in M&A activities around the consolidation of smaller plant-based companies.”
The latest funding follows a previous round of $17m raised by the company in 2019, with part of its equity sold to broadcaster Channel 4 in exchange for commercial airtime.
Meatless Farm added the global market for plant-based food was estimated to grow by 17% to $4.2bn in 2021 as consumers continue to look for ways to make their diets healthier.
The growing popularity of the alternative meat category in the UK is underlined by the recent sales figures across grocery. During lockdown, the sector increased sales value by 18.4% to £134.5m [Kantar 12 w/e 14 June 2020], according to the most recent category report in The Grocer.
The new Meatless funding round was managed by recently appointed director Leopoldo Zambeletti, who has more 20 years’ investment banking experience at firms including JP Morgan and Credit Suisse.
“This funding round gives Meatless Farm the ability to take advantage of consumers’ desire to change lifestyles as people aim to ‘build back better’ in the wake of Covid-19,” Zambeletti said.
“Fundraising during lockdown brought its own unique challenges, but the strength of the brand, the sustainable mission, the excellent management team and proven execution to date resonated well with existing and new investors alike.”
Meatless was founded in Leeds in 2016 and now has four offices worldwide, including in Amsterdam, New York and Singapore. Following the launch of the brand in 2018, the Meatless range is now available in all the major mults, as well as Whole Foods in the US.
Sales are growing at almost 180% a year on a like-for-like basis in the UK. The business said it was set to continue its double-digit sales growth in the years to come.
This summer, Meatless Farm ran a nationwide UK advertising campaign aimed at converting meat eaters. The campaign included traditional print advertising, branded electric cars driving through London, billboards and bus signs, and a Meatless drive-thru restaurant, as well as radio and TV adverts.