Heather Mills

Mills, who founded the company in 1993, has previously stated her ambition to turn the North-East into the ‘Silicon Valley’ of plant-based foods

Heather Mills has sold a minority stake in her VBites plant-based group to the German multinational owner of Intersnack for an undisclosed sum.

Pfeifer & Langen, which owns KP, Tyrells, Hula Hoops and other snack brands, reached an agreement to buy 25.1% of the company through its ‘New Food’ division.

The €3bn-plus turnover conglomerate plans to use its might to accelerate growth of the plant-based cheeses and fish-free products part of Mills’ group, while also focusing on VBites’ range of plant protein isolates in the long term.

The investment follows Pfeifer & Langen taking a majority stake in German plant protein specialist Amidori in 2019, with the company since rebranded to Endori.

Mills said the deal was “transformational” for the plant-based sector.

“We are delighted to have found a partner that shares our values and ambition for the plant-based movement,” she added.

“Pfeifer & Langen specialises in the procurement and refinement of raw ingredients for their food businesses and understand the importance of controlling your own supply chain – especially with global ingredient shortages set to be a consistent challenge for the plant-based food markets over the next 10-20 years.”

The Vision of V Bites: how Heather Mills is building a Silicon Valley for plant-based food - in Newcastle

VBites will initially focus on the UK and Germany as target markets following the investment, with the German firm helping navigate post-Brexit supply complexities in the EU. VBites’ Peterlee site in the North-East will continue to serve the UK, Middle East and US markets.

Pfeifer & Langen New Food MD Benjamin Rekab said: “With VBites’ huge product range and Endori’s EU-based manufacturing capabilities, the two companies will support each other in expanding their sales across borders in all plant-based categories, allowing vegan, functional Fish or cheese products from the VBites brand to be launched on the German market.

“We will also support VBites in expanding its range internationally with a focus on developing key accounts in core strategic markets.”

Mills, who founded the company in 1993, has previously stated her ambition to turn the North-East into the ‘Silicon Valley’ of plant-based foods.

The business manufactures more than 140 branded and own-label plant-based meat, fish and cheese product lines from its three dedicated factories in Corby, Benton and Peterlee. It currently exports to 24 countries and counts the likes of Morrisons, Ocado, Greencore, Domino’s and Norseland as customers.