Chef Duo: Sarno Brothers’ Wicked Foods To Launch In U.S. Following Tesco Popularity
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Following its enormous success with British retail giant Tesco, Wicked Foods is now gearing up to bring U.S. consumers its line of plant-based meals. The brand’s expansion to North America comes amid surging interest and demand for more plant-based food options in the country and around the world, driven by food safety, health and sustainability concerns as a result of the pandemic.
Wicked Foods, the plant-based food brand that took off in the U.K. with a nationwide partnership with the country’s biggest retailer Tesco with its line “Wicked Kitchen”, will be launching its products in the U.S. as part of its international expansion in 2021. Starting from next summer, U.S. consumers will be able to purchase the Wicked Foods diverse plant-based range, from vegan pizzas and salad boxes to quiches, home-bakes, ready-meals and plant-based cooking ingredients.
Our mission is to help people cook and eat more plants knowing that we’ll be saving millions and millions of animals each day which improves our planet while supporting our farmers and our health.Derek Sarno, Co-Founder of Wicked Foods
The brand, created by renowned chefs and brothers Derek and Chad Sarno, first entered the British market in 2018, and has since been a favourite convenient grab-and-go pick for shoppers looking for healthier, cruelty-free meals that still delivers a chef-driven, delicious experience – even winning a dedicated fanbase unofficially dubbed the “mushroom mafia”.
Tesco has since extended the brand’s original 20-product range to 80 across its more than 3,700 stores, with the retailer recently announcing a five-year commitment to offer even more vegan alternatives, setting its sales target for the category at 300%.
“Our mission is to help people cook and eat more plants knowing that we’ll be saving millions and millions of animals each day which improves our planet while supporting our farmers and our health,” said Derek Sarno.
“We’ve created the tools, recipes and products to make it simple, flavorful and fun for people to eat more plant-based foods in the UK, and we are excited to now bring these to the US, Canada and other European countries.”
The Sarno brothers are also the brains behind Gathered Foods, the food tech behind fast-growing U.S.-based seafood brand Good Catch, which has been backed by high-profile celebs and major fishing industry giants alike.
Their decision to bring the Wicked line to the U.S. comes in the wake of the skyrocketing demand for plant-based foods the country has seen since the coronavirus pandemic struck. Sales for vegan meat alternatives, for instance, rose more than 200% during the height of the first wave in April, while recent statistics show that the majority of people are now switching to a meat-reducing or flexitarian diet, with strong intentions to go vegan or vegetarian in the future.
Their commitment to producing the most crave-able, sought after, chef-crafted plant-based foods is driving huge demand in the U.K., and we know Americans are ready for this genuine and unapologetic approach to plant-based eating.Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Foods
Wicked’s expansion will be led by the company’s newly appointed CEO, Pete Speranza, a CPG industry veteran who will bring his decades of experience to continue accelerating the brand’s international reach.
“In my nearly 25 years in CPG, I haven’t seen anything quite like what Chad and Derek have been able to create with Wicked Foods,” Speranza commented in a statement. “Their commitment to producing the most crave-able, sought after, chef-crafted plant-based foods is driving huge demand in the U.K., and we know Americans are ready for this genuine and unapologetic approach to plant-based eating.”
“Beyond that, it’s not only vegans that are creating demand but also mainstream consumers who want in on alternative protein options that put flavour first,” Wicked’s new CEO added.
All images courtesy of Wicked Foods.