Wicked Kitchen, the leading global plant-based food brand founded by brothers Chad and Derek Sarno, broadens its reach with the strategic acquisition of Current Foods, a pioneering alt-protein seafood startup.
In a fresh wave of consolidation in the plant-based industry, Wicked Kitchen has announced the all-stock acquisition of Current Foods. The startup, specializing in plant-based seafood, services fine dining establishments and food services across the U.S. and Europe.
Consolidating the market, expanding vegan seafood
Current Foods marks the second acquisition by Wicked Kitchen in the past year — last September it nabbed Good Catch, another Sarnos-founded vegan seafood brand. Current Foods complements Wicked Kitchen’s portfolio, expanding into a rapidly growing segment of plant-based seafood, adding plant-based sushi-grade tuna and salmon from Current Foods to its portfolio.
“Wicked continues on our mission to disrupt the food space with plant-based culinary-forward solutions for consumers,” Wicked Kitchen’s Chief Culinary Officer and co-founder, Chad Sarno, said in a statement. “This synergistic opportunity to bring Current into the family, only amplifies the impact we can have as we continue to push forward in improving ocean health and all that call it home.”
Wicked Kitchen’s CEO Pete Speranza called Current Foods a perfect match for Wicked as a global-impact brand with the same mission and complementary products. “With this deal and the Good Catch acquisition, we’re uniquely positioned as consumers continually learn about the environmental impact realities on sea life,” he said.
The merger opens up global opportunities for Wicked Kitchen, enabling the company to reach new consumers and channels, particularly across food service. “We’re able to put the Current Foods brand in the best possible spot to thrive and as a versatile multi-category brand, Wicked Kitchen is the home to do that,” said Speranza.
‘Ahead of the curve’
With more than 40 products in the U.S. and more than 150 in the U.K., Wicked Kitchen is known for its extensive assortment of chef-crafted, plant-based consumer packaged goods. The brand, which started as an in-house range for U.K. retailer Tesco, boasts multi-category offerings that extend from frozen and ambient products to unique ice creams and novelties.
David Barber, a partner at Astanor Ventures, and the largest investor at Current Foods said Wicked’s commitment to impact and to defining the future of the plant-based market makes them “the right home” for Current Foods’ products.
Speranza says the acquisition is a necessity of a proactive strategy in the plant-based sector for continued growth in an increasingly competitive market. “There’s only so much shelf space and we’re all fighting for volume,” he said. “The industry needs transformation to sustain innovation and competitive advantage. Wicked is ahead of the curve.”