VFC, the vegan chicken brand created by Veganuary’s Matthew Glover and chef Adam Lyons, is about to launch across Tesco stores nationwide. Coinciding with World Vegan Day on November 1, more than 370 locations of the UK’s largest supermarket chain will start retailing three of VFC’s 100% plant-based chicken products.
British vegan chicken brand VFC is launching across Tesco stores nationwide, marking its first entry into the retail market in the UK. Around 370 locations across the country will stock VFC products from November 1, coinciding with World Vegan Day, including the startup’s Chick*n Fillets, Popcorn Chick*n and Chick*n Bites.
VFC enters mainstream retail
VFC, which first launched in late 2020, recently expanded to the US and Canada through various foodservice channels. In the UK, it is available via its direct-to-consumer website, but its new partnership with Tesco is part of the brand’s long-term strategy to tap the mainstream market.
“We’re incredibly excited to be working with Tesco to bring VFC into mainstream grocery. As the new vegan brand on the block, we couldn’t be happier to join the range of quality vegan products already offered by Tesco, and to be injecting a little passion into the sector,” commented VFC co-founder Matthew Glover.
For Tesco, the decision to add VFC’s range to its stores is just another step in its plant-forward strategy in response to changing consumer trends. Last year, the British supermarket giant pledged to increase plant-based sales by 300% within five years.
“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,” shared Derek Sarno, director of plant-based innovation at Tesco.
‘Disrupting factory farming with feel-good food’
Unlike other plant-based brands on the market that typically focus on the sustainability benefits of meat alternatives, VFC, while acknowledging the environmental advantages, chooses to highlight animal welfare. Glover explains that launching at Tesco is part of its broader mission to “disrupt the current food system that is tied to factory farming, slaughterhouses and environmental degradation.”
“And we’re doing all that with delicious feel-good food. This is a very important—and very welcome—milestone for us,” the co-founder added.
VFC plans to ramp up its marketing efforts with its first mainstream retail debut through a number of eye-catching advertising campaigns across the London Underground, bus and roadsides across the country’s capital. The campaign will later expand to other major cities across the UK, including in Manchester, Brighton & Hove, and Kent.
While the startup says the “exact details are being kept under wraps for now”, the ads are set to be “bold and engaging, and will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers.”
The brand’s rapid expansion in just ten months since its launch comes in the midst of a global vegan chicken trend taking over the food industry. Even the chief of KFC, the fast-food chain that VFC’s brand name is a wordplay of, has described the rise of plant-based chicken as “no fad” and is quickly ramping up its meatless offerings.
Vegan food techs that haven’t previously focused on chicken have also recently added the product to their range, including the two giants Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which have launched nuggets and tenders respectively.
All images courtesy of VFC.