Brand remain committed to UK plant-based category

© Happy Vegi Butcher

Market & Trends

Resilience in the UK: Brands Remaining Committed to the Plant-Based Category

Several alt protein brands have said they are still committed to the plant-based category in the UK in spite of challenging market conditions. Discussing its first-half results, Swiss food group Orior — owner of the plant-based Happy Vegi Butcher brand — said that while sales in Switzerland had remained stable, those in the UK were “inadequate, with only minimal signs of recovery”. Despite this, the company insisted it was “fully convinced of the future viability and growth potential” of the plant-based category, seeing the current situation as a “temporary bear market”. Orior said that the increasing adoption of flexitarian diets provided assurance that the plant-based market would see further growth. This sentiment has been echoed by Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina, which is about to launch …

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Company News

Meatless Farm Back on Shelves Less Than a Month After Facing Administration

Best-selling products from UK alt meat brand Meatless Farm are back on supermarket shelves, along with a new product development said to be the first-to-market, just weeks after famously being acquired by industry peer VFC. Speaking to vegconomist on the acquisition of the brand, VFC Co-founder Matthew Glover said that the acquisition, financed from the company’s cash reserves, marks a crucial milestone for the company and its mission to remove animals from the food chain. A major step for plant-based “Those claiming the plant-based food movement has peaked are mistaken. The consumer appetite for plant-based is still there and at a total EU level, the category is in growth, with unit sales growth of the plant-based milk, meat and cheese categories outpacing that of animal-based …

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Dave Sparrow, CEO of VFC

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Interviews

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

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 …

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VFC enters chilled category

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Meat- and Fish Alternatives

VFC Enters Chilled Category in “First Phase of an Exciting Pipeline” of Game-Changing NPDs

UK plant-based chicken brand VFC has made its debut in the chilled category as it continues on its mission to remove animals from the food chain. The new range includes a chilled version of the brand’s popular Crispy Chick*n Fillets, along with a brand new product — Piri Piri Chick*n Wings. The wings are said to be “perfect for sharing”, and come with a separate sachet of Piri Piri sauce. According to VFC, the launches are “the first phase of an exciting pipeline of NPD” and are part of a global growth strategy. The brand says it is hoping to bring incremental consumers to its products and to the plant-based category as a whole. “Natural next step” The new products follow a highly successful twelve …

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Meatless Farm VFC

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Investments & Acquisitions

VFC Saves Meatless Farm From Administration

In a much-needed injection of good news for plant-based business, especially in the UK, fried chicken challenger brand VFC today officially confirms the acquisition of Meatless Farm, which was on the brink of bankruptcy, as many of our readers will be well aware. In a deal worth £12m in sales, VFC has stepped in to save the British brand known in particular for its vegan mince product. The Meatless Farm brand will be retained, with the product range diversifying VFC Foods’ existing plant-based chick*n portfolio.  Speaking to vegconomist this morning, Co-founder Matthew Glover states: “Those claiming the plant-based food movement has peaked are mistaken. The consumer appetite for plant-based is still there and at a total EU level, the category is in growth, with unit …

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Vegan fried chicken

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Investments & Acquisitions

VFC Receives £6M for “Next Level” Expansion Plans and Ambitious NPD Pipeline

Vegan fried chicken brand VFC announces it has received a £6M ($7.4M) investment to further drive expansion in the UK and international markets. Led by Veg Capital, the funding will be used to grow VFC across multiple channels and introduce “game-changing” innovation in adjacent categories, such as chilled products, later this year.  Launched in 2020 by Adam Lyons and Veganuary founder Matthew Glover, VFC has since expanded throughout the UK and reached multiple global markets. According to the company, the past six months have seen especially strong growth, with brand coverage increasing tenfold. Exponential growth VFC reports its latest product innovations, including a “more meat-like” recipe, a new Spicy variety, and its first kids’ product, Stompers, has helped increase distribution at Sainsbury’s, as well as …

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Chick*n tenders

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Food Service

VFC Chick*n Tenders Launch at 600 Marston’s Pubs Across the UK

Vegan fried chicken brand VFC has launched its crispy chick*n tenders at 600 pubs owned by UK company Marston’s. Said to be ideal for dunking and dipping, the tenders feature wheat-based vegan chicken in a southern-fried cornflake coating. Marston’s is one of the UK’s biggest pub chains, with over 1,500 locations across the country. The company first began offering plant-based options in 2018, with the introduction of a new menu featuring the Moving Mountains burger. Later that year, Marston’s won a PETA award for the menu, which also included jackfruit wedges, cauliflower wings, and vegan cheesecake. Other food service outlets serving VFC include vegan kebab chain What the Pitta, Bromsgrove fish and chip shop Gold’s, and plant-based street food kitchen VetoMeato. Making vegan food more …

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VFC Vegan Chicken

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Products & Launches

VFC Expands US Retail Presence to Over 100 Raley’s Stores, Adds Fried Chick*n Tenders to Line

Vegan fried chick*n brand VFC announces it is expanding its US retail presence by launching into over 100 Raley’s grocery stores. Described as an “exciting milestone” for VFC, Raley’s markets on the US West Coast will carry several of the brand’s plant-based products, including Chick*n Filets, Tenders and Popcorn Chick*n. Founded in the UK, VFC aims to revolutionize the plant-based food market with fried vegan chick*n offerings it says don’t sacrifice on flavor. The brand’s products, which are high in protein and feature a crunchy cornflake coating, include: Chick*n Filets – For burgers, sandwiches and more Chick*n Tenders – For dipping and dunking Popcorn Chick*n – For a light, sharable snack Phenomenal success Following tremendous success in the UK and Europe, VFC entered the US …

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Products & Launches

VFC Launches New Spicy Tenders and Fillets, Announces Ocado Listing

Vegan fried chick*n brand VFC has kickstarted 2023 with the launch of Spicy Tenders and Fillets, into Asda, the UK’s 4th biggest supermarket, a month after the Fillets rolled out into Sainsbury’s. Concurrently, the food activists announce a new listing with Ocado where consumers can now purchase VFC Fillets, Tenders and Popcorn Chick*n. Back by consumer demand The new spicy products feature VFC’s soy and wheat-based fried chicken alternative wrapped in a spicy and crispy cornflake coating. The fillets were previously on sale for a short time last year and have now been relaunched in response to requests from customers. Both products are now available at Asda stores across the UK. The news comes just two months after VFC updated its recipe to a new …

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VFC Kids Chick-n_Stompers

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Company News

VFC Announces “More Meat-Like” Recipe, New SKUs, and First Product For Kids

UK vegan chick*n / food activism brand VFC announces a new, “more meat-like” recipe, new Chick*n Tenders and Spicy Fillets, and its very first product for children, which rolled out into Sainsbury’s 6th Nov. The new core recipe — offering a crispier, crunchier southern-fried cornflake coating, higher protein and less salt — will be applied to the full VFC range, which will now include Original Recipe Crispy Chick*n Tenders and Spicy Fillets. VFC states that its proprietary cutting-edge extrusion technology successfully mimics the juiciness, texture and flavour of animal chicken. Concurrently, VFC announces it will see brand coverage increase tenfold throughout 2023, with new listings in Ocado and increased distribution across Sainsbury’s, surpassing 3,200 distribution points in total. The products, recently voted Best New Vegan …

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Peeled vegan cooking competition show

© Peeled

Marketing & Media

VFC to Sponsor Peeled, the “World’s First” Vegan Cooking Competition Show

Vegan fried chicken brand VFC has announced its sponsorship of Peeled, which is said to be the world’s first fully vegan cooking competition show. VFC will be present at Peeled’s red carpet premiere, which will take place on September 24 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles. Doors will open at 4 pm, with guests enjoying beer, wine, spirits, and hors d’oeuvres created by PEELED’s contestants. They will also have the opportunity to meet the cast. The show’s first episode will be aired at 6 pm, and will simultaneously be streamed worldwide across multiple platforms including Apple TV, Amazon, and YouTube. Fully vegan show Created by the founders of vegan online resource and mobile listing app VKind, Peeled commenced development around a …

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VFC Chick n meal

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Meat- and Fish Alternatives

VFC to Showcase New Chick*n Tenders at Two US Expos

Vegan fried chicken brand VFC is set to showcase its new Chick*n Tenders at two upcoming events — Plant Based World Expo in New York City and Natural Products Expo East 2022 in Philadelphia. At the Natural Products expo, VFC will serve dishes featuring the Chick*n tenders, which are said to be ideal for dipping and dunking. The brand will also exhibit at Plant Based World Expo, hosting one of the biggest stands at the event. Previously, VFC attended last year’s Plant Based World Expo, where interest was so high that the company decided to dramatically accelerate its US expansion plans. The brand launched in the US last September after raising $10.3 million in funding. Global expansion VFC was founded in the UK, where it …

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Company News

VFC Gives Away Free Vegan Fried Chick*n to the UK

Fast-growing food activist brand VFC has set up a dedicated microsite where customers in the UK can be reimbursed for the price of any VFC product for a whole three month period. Breaking down barriers The campaign is sure to please vegans in the UK, and perhaps persuade its rather outspoken anti-vegan followers to try the products too. Since its launch at the end of 2020 VFC has steadily grown a cult social media following with its humorous approach to meat-eating trolls which has now gathered over 51 thousand followers on Facebook and more than 36 thousand on Instagram. Alison Reilly, Marketing Director for VFC, explains: “Our mission is to spare the lives of chickens, and to do that we need to break down some …

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kfc marketing campaign

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Marketing & Media

VFC Condemns KFC Marketing Campaign as “Utterly Misleading”

Plant-based fried chicken brand VFC has responded furiously to a new KFC marketing campaign that appears to show high welfare standards at a farm supplying the fast-food chain. For the campaign, KFC teamed up with social media influencer Niko Omilana, inviting him to go “behind the bucket” at the chicken farm. The film shows the floor of the shed covered in fresh straw, perches and bells provided to enrich the chickens’ lives, healthy birds, and a reasonable amount of space. But VFC was sceptical, having investigated several poultry farms and found consistently poor conditions. The company, which has previously said it intends to “take on the chicken industry” and “end factory farming”, tracked down the farm used in the film and entered with a filmmaker. …

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VFC Founders Adam Lyons and Matthew Glover

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Facts & Figures

VFC Shares Eco Impact Assessment as US Expansion Gathers Pace

VFC, the vegan fried chick*n brand taking the world by storm, has released the results of an independent impact assessment showing the meat-free range to outperform its animal equivalent across every environmental metric. The news comes as the activism-focused brand continues to expand its plant-based fried chicken in the US market. Laying down a challenge to the meat industry to “come clean and then clean up”, VFC asked Mondra, a body that analyses supply chain data to assess environmental performance in the food industry, to give an independent impact assessment. It found that the conventional chicken product has double the climate impact, uses 24 times more water, and has a 20 times greater impact on biodiversity.  Wrong side of history Speaking to vegconomist, VFC co-founder Matthew …

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Investments & Finance

Vegan Fried Chick*n Brand VFC Raises $10.3M, Plans “Fast-Paced” US Growth

UK based vegan fried chick*n startup VFC Foods Ltd, launched by Veganuary founder Matthew Glover just 13 months ago, has secured £7.5m ($10.3m) in a seed round led by Veg Capital, and plans extensive growth into US and international markets.  The fresh funds will be used by the social media star to support greater capacity, team building, marketing, R&D and upscaling of the business in international markets, following a massively successful 2021 that saw growth into mainland Europe and mainstream retail expansion into the UK’s biggest supermarket Tesco.  “Huge interest from investors” Veg Capital, which also invested in VFC’s earlier seed round in March of last year, is an ethical fund which donates all profits to animal charities and provides early-stage capital to companies working …

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Image courtesy of VFC

Studies & Numbers

Majority of UK Consumers Could Not Buy Chicken After Seeing Images of Factory Farms

A new survey has found that the majority of UK consumers would shop and eat differently if they knew more about the factory farming of chickens. The findings show how consumers feel “kept in the dark” regarding the reality of chicken farming in the country, and more than two-thirds of respondents would buy plant-based chicken if it tasted similar.  The survey of more than 5,000 people in the UK was commissioned by activism-focused plant-based chicken company VFC, with the key findings as follows: Only 16% of people said they would buy a chicken from a factory farm once they had seen images of a typical industrial farm. 80% of people thought it important to know where their food is produced, yet only 15% knew the …

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Plant Based World North America Conference

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Fairs & Events

Plant-Based Celebrities and Product Launches Fill the Bill at Plant Based World Expo

Plant-Based Celebrities, famous chefs, and innovative product sampling among the attractions of December 9-10 event  Attendees to this year’s Plant Based World Expo North America (PBW) will be treated to a host of product innovations as well as networking opportunities with some of the biggest names in the plant-based industry. Some of the most exciting brands in the scene will be debuting products, including UK fried chicken phenomenon VFC and Asian sensation OmniFoods.  From international chefs to vegan CEOs and food experts, the PBW event boasts a stellar line-up of speakers and educational sessions, including: Chef Chew, Founder & CEO of Something Better Foods Inc., investor, and TED talks speaker.  James Corwell, Certified Master Chef and the creative force behind Ocean Hugger Foods. Rocco DiSpirito, …

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VFC Adam and Matt

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Food & Beverage

PETA UK’s Vegan Food Awards Winners 2021 Revealed

PETA UK has today announced its prestigious Vegan Food Awards winners, with the list ranging from small startups to huge names in the food industry – like McDonald’s and Burger King – highlighting how mainstream plant-based eating has now become.  Now in its ninth year, PETA’s Vegan Food Awards showcases some of the biggest and exciting new vegan offerings of the last 12 months over 24 categories.  BEST VEGAN CHICKEN VFC – After its recent US expansion, the activism-first vegan fried chicken producer VFC recently signed its first major retailer listing with Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain. BEST VEGAN MEAT Oumph! Kebab Döner Style – the Swedish plant-based brand Oumph! launched its kebab meat into Iceland supermarkets in the UK, made from pea protein, …

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Products & Launches

Tesco to Become First Large Retailer to Bring VFC Fried Chick*n to Mainstream Market

After its recent US expansion, vegan fried chicken producer VFC today announces that from World Vegan Day on 1st November, its first major retailer listing will commence with Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain. Derek Sarno, Director of Plant-based Innovation at Tesco, enthuses: “I’m thrilled that Tesco is the first large retailer to bring VFC to the mainstream market. The plant-protein market is growing rapidly, and VFC brings something genuinely exciting to the sector. With no compromise on flavour, it offers a delicious alternative that will help make eating plant-based easier – and tastier – than ever.”   The products rolling out into 370 Tesco stores less than a month from now will be: VFC Original Recipe Chick*n Fillets, 220g RRP £3 VFC Original Recipe …

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