British plant-based food tech THIS is set to launch a “huge line-up” of new products after bagging £11 million. Claiming the round is the largest Series A raised by a U.K. alternative protein company, THIS has big plans ahead to ramp up R&D and launch new products. It comes on the heels of the startup’s impressive 530% year-on-year growth.
THIS, the London-based plant meat company, has closed its Series A round with £11 million (US$15.3 million). Co-led by Barclay’s BGF and Lever VC, the company claims that the funding is the largest Series A to date in the U.K. alternative protein industry. Other investors include Backed, Five Seasons and CPT Capital.
Proceeds from the round will primarily be used to support the company’s R&D capabilities. In a statement, the firm said the funds will also help get their proprietary high moisture extrusion technology patented.
‘Wacky plans for new tech and a huge line up of plant-based products’
The financing will also accelerate THIS’ plans to grow its vegan meat range and distribution points. It plans to grow its in-house product development team by four-fold within 2021.
“This investment will unlock the most exciting new product development schedule. We’ve got some wacky plans for new tech and a huge line up of plant-based products, which will make eating plant-based food that bit easier for consumers,” commented co-founder Andy Shovel. Self-proclaimed meat-lover Shovel founded THIS with Pete Sharman back in 2019.
This investment will unlock the most exciting new product development schedule.Andy Shovel, Co-Founder, THIS
Like the rest of THIS’ range, the new products will be developed at its “Willy Wonka style R&D centre” in London. The company uses a unique high moisture extrusion technology to manufacture its hyper-realistic vegan meat alternatives.
At present, the company’s range includes THIS Isn’t Chicken, THIS Isn’t Bacon, and ready-to-eat products like vegan pork sausages and tikka pieces. The entire range is high-protein, low-fat and made from non-GMO ingredients like pea and soy protein.
The fundraise comes amid a year of record-breaking growth for THIS. According to the firm, as of April 2021, it has grown 530% year-on-year.
“This is one of the highest ever growth rates for a U.K. food brand, let alone meat-alternative brand,” said THIS in a statement.
Within two years of its launch, the startup’s has entered 8,900 retail locations in total, including at all four of the country’s biggest supermarket chains. In addition, more than 300 foodservice locations serve THIS’ vegan meat, including Honest Burgers and Prezzo.
Huge environmental savings
THIS says that the record sales of its sustainable plant-based meat alternatives have added up to huge carbon savings.
“We’ve sold 22 million portions of its products – enough to feed the populations of Greece and Portugal combined,” the company claimed. According to their calculations, that translates to saving 6.7 million kilograms of carbon dioxide.
“Plant-based meat alternatives are increasingly empowering consumers with more choices in their diet and environmental impact – and THIS is at the forefront of this,” shared Daina Spedding, investor at BGF.
We’ve sold 22 million portions of its products – enough to feed the populations of Greece and Portugal combined.THIS
Bullish forecast for THIS
Investors have been jumping to back the British plant meat maker, given its strong sales record and cult fanbase. The brand’s following has even won the startup a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign last year, which topped the £4 million overfunding target in just 2.5 days. Prior to its Series A, THIS secured £8.7 million from a number of venture capital firms.
We’ve never seen a plant-based meat company grow its sales and its store count as quickly as THIS has.Nick Cooney, Managing Partner, Lever VC
Explaining why BGF is backing THIS, Spedding pointed to the company’s “innovative business that is rapidly scaling in a very exciting new food category in the U.K.”
“We’ve never seen a plant-based meat company grow its sales and its store count as quickly as THIS has,” added Nick Cooney, managing partner at Lever VC. “We think the company is well on its way to being a category leader in the U.K. and beyond.”
All images courtesy of THIS.