Loss-making Meatless Farm is set to collapse into administration after a desperate search for new investment to save the plant-based brand proved fruitless.
The Grocer understands a notice of intention to appoint administrators was filed on 31 May and all staff at the Leeds-headquartered group were let go on Friday (9 June) .
The Meatless Farm website is currently offline and the brand’s products are no longer available in supermarkets or with its foodservice partners.
Insolvency specialists at Kroll are expected to be officially appointed as administrators as soon as today (12 June), but the details are still unclear as the advisory firm continues to explore options for the assets.
The group’s executives and management team also took to LinkedIn over the weekend to advertise their availability for new opportunities.
“Sadly my time at Meatless Farm has come to an end,” said commercial director Tim Offer. “After a fantastic 10 months leading a talented and highly engaged sales team, the business has unfortunately made all the teams redundant.
“I learnt a huge amount in a short space of time and have absolutely loved the people and the brand.”
Interim finance executive John Loughrey added: “Sadly things have not worked out for Meatless Farm so I am now looking for my next assignment, as will numerous other colleagues.
“I have had a great time in a fantastic company, and have had the honour and pleasure of working with some amazing people. It is a shame the company has not made it through this difficult period and I wish all my former colleagues the best of luck for the future.”
Crowd backers and other investors are expected to lose millions of pounds as a result of the failure of the company, which raised about £40m over several funding rounds since being founded in 2016.
The Grocer revealed at the end of May Meatless had engaged Kroll to run an accelerated sales process in the hope of securing a rescue deal, with the business needing at least £10m as it burned through its remaining cash.
Meatless has racked up almost £50m in operating losses in the past three years, and rapid sales growth has gone into reverse as revenues fell to £11.2m in 2022 from £12.5m in the previous year.
The collapse follows a softening of demand in the crowded plant-based category coupled with soaring costs for ingredients, energy, labour and packaging.
Meatless Farm founder Morten Toft Bech told The Grocer in May that a “big investor” withdrew from a commitment to inject a large amount of cash into the business.
“This caught the board and management team by surprise because our cash runway was timed to this anticipated incoming investment,” he said.