Vegan fried chicken brand VFC, which made its international debut in Spain this past March, has announced a new partnership with plant-based and organic brands distributor Brandplant to expand in Europe, with VFC products debuting retail locations across Benelux.
After debuting in the U.K. back in December 2020 and moving into Spain in March 2021, the brand has joined forces with Brandplant, evidence of the growing demand for vegan products in the Benelux region. VFC products are now available in Vegan Fresco, Vegabond, V-Markt, Veggie 4 U and Jumbo supermarkets, and will debut in 15 foodservice locations later this month across the region, including in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
U.K.-based movement Veganuary’s co-founder Mathew Glover founded the VFC brand along with chef and restaurateur Adam Lyons in order to provide consumers with plant-based chicken created out of wheat protein. The brand currently has two vegan chicken offerings, VFC Bites and VFC Fillets, with both available in spicy and original flavours.
Speaking about the launch, VFC Sales Director Stewart McGuckin said: “There has been consistent consumer demand from Benelux since we first launched in the U.K., and so we started our search for a distributor that would be as motivated as we are to cluck the system and bring amazing vegan foods to consumers. The Brandplant team bowled us over with their enthusiasm. Not only do they understand our mission and values, they completely share them. This makes them the ideal partner for VFC and we’re excited to see what we can achieve together.”
There has been consistent consumer demand from Benelux since we first launched in the UK, and so we started our search for a distributor that would be as motivated as we are to cluck the system and bring amazing vegan foods to consumersStewart McGuckin, sales director of VFC
Sales Manager at Brandplant Gertjan Kruijk said that they were inspired by VFC’s mission and the unique energy that came through when meeting the team. “Adam Lyons and Matthew Glover have created a fantastic tasting product with a real heartfelt purpose. Vegan Fried Chick*n (VFC) is taking the U.K. by storm and fits extremely well with Brandplant’s personal and company values. Seeing the huge fanbase in the UK, the food service and retail partners they work with, and after meeting the VFC team, Brandplant knew that it needed to bring the brand to the Benelux.”
McGuckin added that the team is focused on launching its brand on every continent by the end of this year to reduce the amount of global meat consumption. “There’s nothing I have seen that suggests we won’t make it. The demand is there, we’re working to meet it, and we’re scaling up fast. By making great-tasting and affordable vegan meats available to all, we can help end the inhumane era of factory farming, and that can’t happen soon enough.”
In March, VFC received closed a GBP£2.5M (approx. US$3.4M) seed funding round led by Veg Capital and aims to use these funds to fulfill its mission of reaching GBP£20M (approx. US$27.5M) sales by the end of 2023, with a target to save 3 million chickens during the same period. An estimated 50 billion chickens are slaughtered for meat every year.
By making great-tasting and affordable vegan meats available to all, we can help end the inhumane era of factory farming, and that can’t happen soon enoughStewart McGuckin, sales director of VFC
According to a recent report, the European plant-based food industry has grown by a whopping 49% in just two years equivalent to a sales value of €3.6 billion (approx. US$4.35 billion) with all 11 European countries witnessing an explosive demand due to a shift in consumer habits with data further pointing to plant-based milk going one step ahead and overtaking the plant-based meat sector.
Another report showed that in 2020 alone, European food techs raised €2.7 billion(US$3.2 billion) with major investments in the alternative protein industry recording a massive triple-digit growth.
Recognising this demand, plant-based pioneer Beyond Meat expanded across thousands of locations throughout Europe; 3D bioprinted cultivated meat developer MeaTech will be soon opening a pilot plant in the region to manufacture cultured chicken fat, and pea protein milk company Vly closed its EUR€6.1M(approx. US$7.4M) to rapidly expand across Europe.
Lead image courtesy of VFC.