VFC: “Consumer-Led Brands That Stay True to Their Core Values Will Weather the Storm”

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Chicken industry disruptor brand VFC, still on an unrelenting mission to remove animals from the food chain, believes in the continued growth of the plant-based food movement. 

Last month VFC famously acquired fellow UK plant meat producer Meatless Farm, a brand known for its vegan mince product, which was close to bankruptcy. The acquisition worth £12 million in sales will allow VFC to diversify its plant-based chickn portfolio.

It was high time to meet CEO Dave Sparrow who stepped up into the role in the place of Matthew Glover in April of last year, and who led the acquisition of Meatless Farm, to get the full story.

Please remind our readers about the core mission behind VFC.
Our mission is an act of positive rebellion against a system that has brought us climate change, environmental destruction, factory farming, and slaughterhouses.

Our way to dismantle this destructive system and spare chickens is a sit-down protest with great food and bags of sass.

VFC acquires Meatless Farm
Image courtesy of VFC

Congratulations on your acquisition of Meatless Farm. Please give us an insight into the strategy behind this move and how it underlines your drive toward removing animals from the food chain.
The acquisition of the Meatless Farm brand was motivated by numerous factors. Firstly, it was a brand that I personally had admired since it was established six years ago and pioneered the vegan fixture here in the UK.

“Bringing the two brands together strengthens our core mission”

The Meatless Farm portfolio compliments our current VFC offer, which focuses on removing chickens from the food chain. Bringing the two brands together strengthens our core mission, which is all about animals and the wellbeing of our ecosystem.

From a business perspective, both brands, VFC and Meatless Farm will create synergies across various aspects of our business, enabling us to grow faster and smarter over the coming years, which is extremely exciting.

Vegan fried chicken

What are your plans moving forward with the Meatless Farm brand and its flagship plant-based minced meat? Will its full product portfolio be continued?
The Meatless Farm brand carries a huge amount of customer loyalty and engagement – we therefore see both our brands acting independently, yet in harmony, whilst leveraging the core values of our underlining mission.

By bringing both brands together we can harness greater R&D, innovation, and NPD capabilities, which will ensure we are offering better choice and quality to all consumers across multiple meal occasions.

Like VFC, Meatless Farm has a fabulous range of products and it’s safe to say that they are here to stay, including the vegan mince. That said, we do need to consider that Meatless Farm has a high level of complexity behind its product count and supply chain, so we will need to streamline operations to focus on the best possible range under each brand. 


VFC has undertaken big steps internationally in the past months. Can you tell us about your launch into the Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain Albert Heijn?
Albert Heijn and our extended partners in the Netherlands have been exceptionally supportive and we have been very pleased with how the Dutch consumers have adopted VFC and our products.

We have also actively supported this key market across Foodservice, launching into leading accounts throughout the country, whilst broadening our product range in both channels to grow our market share.

In the UK, you recently partnered with Marston’s Pubs, expanding your reach to more than 600 locations. Can we expect to see more domestic partnerships like this in the near future?
Marston’s has been a great partnership for VFC and through the acquisition of Meatless Farm, we now have numerous high-profile out-of-home partnerships across both brands, which we will leverage further through our product proposition and innovation pipeline.

“Foodservice partnerships are crucial to our growth strategy”

A strong range of versatile, convenient, and delicious plant-based options in the out-of-home dining occasion is key to converting more consumers into the movement. Foodservice partnerships are therefore crucial to our growth strategy.

Chick*n tenders

VFC secured £6M earlier this year – how did these funds fuel growth and in what areas will they be invested?
Raising £6m in a challenging climate across all categories has enabled us to focus our efforts on smart, long-term sustainable growth. Investing in our key markets, channels, and categories, a talented team, and an overall infrastructure which aligns with our core strategy to become a leading player within plant-based foods.

Where do you see the plant-based market heading over the next 5 years and what role can VFC play in its progression?
Much has been reported on the plant-based market recently and it’s clear that, whilst it will see continued growth and demand, the level of early capital and emerging brands has saturated the space.

Consumer-led brands that stay true to their core values will weather the storm to create strong businesses. Within VFC Foods, that starts with having quality-led products, impactful brand communications, and an eye on maintaining affordable price points for consumer entry into plant-based foods. Beyond this, ensuring that choice and convenience remain a priority to make eating plant-based food an easy transition is key – bringing both VFC and Meatless Farm brands together is a big part of our objective here and an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of the market in the coming years.

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