The Meatless Farm Co Range-small

Meatless Farm

Meatless Farm has officially collapsed into administration after losing its battle to secure new investment, leaving shareholders facing multimillion-pound losses.

A short statement from insolvency firm Kroll confirmed that Geoff Bouchier and Benjamin Wiles were appointed as joint administrators of the plant-based group today (13 June).

However, the statement provided no further details on the number of redundancies or whether talks for any asset sale were ongoing.

As The Grocer revealed yesterday, staff at the company’s Leeds headquarters were sacked on Friday ahead of an expected appointment of administrators this week. It is understood about 50 employees were affected and were made redundant by Meatless Farm, rather than Kroll.

Meatless hired Kroll in May to run an accelerated sales process in an attempt to rescue the business, which needed at least £10m as it burned through remaining cash.

The plant-based brand accumulated losses of almost £50m in just the past three years, with latest Companies House accounts showing a pre-tax loss of £23.5m on revenues of £12.5m in 2021.

A distressed teaser document sent to potential buyers by Kroll – seen by The Grocer – revealed turnover declined in 2022 to £11.2m as it racked up £9m in operating losses.

Meatless founder Morten Toft Bech told The Grocer in May that the group was “doing really well” and described the company as “good and healthy… with strong growth”.

As well as the Leeds headquarters, Meatless operated a European production hub in the Netherlands – opened in 2021 – and a factory in Canada to serve the North American market. It also ran a subsidiary in Canada trading as ‘Lovingly Made Ingredients’.

Kroll did not give details on what was happening with the overseas operations or how many staff were employed abroad. However, Lovingly Made Ingredients is still active on LinkedIn and posted yesterday about a new product launch for a single-ingredient crumb binder made from peas.

Meatless’ plant-based mince, burger patties and sausage were stocked in the big four UK supermarkets, alongside Brakes and Gousto, and foodservice operators such as Itsu, Pret and Yo Sushi. It was also available in 20 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the US and the UAE.

The group raised about £40m in funding across several rounds from a range of private and family office investors, including Channel 4 and South Korea’s SK Inc, as well as a £3.3m raise from 4,403 crowd backers.

Meatless valued itself at close to £90m as recently as four months ago.

The collapse comes amid a wider softening of demand for meat alternatives, with NIQ data revealing Veganuary sales for chilled meat alternatives declined by 16.8% and by 13.5% for frozen compared with 2022.

There has also been a spate of exits from the category, including Heck pulling its plant-based sausages and Nestlé axing its Wunda and Garden Gourmet brands.