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Founded two years ago by a grandson of a Devonshire dairy farmer, Amsterdam-based plant-based cheese brand Willicroft is now bringing its products back into the U.K. market. Launching at major retailers including Waitrose, Wholefoods, Planet Organic and The Vegan Kind, Willicroft has ambitious plans to introduce its plant-based cheeses across Europe and is also targeting Asia and the U.S. in the long-term.
Brad Vanstone, who began adopting a plant-based diet in 2017, is on a mission to solve what he believes is the “final stumbling block” for many to transition into a more sustainable diet: cheese. The descendant of a Devonshire dairy farmer (his grandfather has now retired), Vanstone decided to start his own venture in 2018 to offer his own plant-based cheese alternatives to the world. He is currently backed by a group of 10 impact-driven angel investors.
Named Willicroft, the brand today has seven vegan cheeses within its range, including Cheese Fondue, Truffle Sauce, Cheese Sauce, Grated Italian Style Cheese, and three cream cheeses coming in Classic, Dill and Jalapeno flavours. Its cheeses are made using fermentation, and primarily contain cashews, coconut oil, fermented rice, quinoa, nutritional yeast, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tofu and soybeans.
We’ve always believed that by focussing on the taste and our environmental footprint in equal measure we would be creating something special and are stoked Waitrose supports us on that mission.Brad Vanstone, Founder of Willicroft
This October, the Amsterdam-headquartered brand – which made its mark as the first plant-based cheese shop in the city – will make its first entry into the U.K., back to Vanstone’s family roots. It will be available across major retailers including Waitrose, The Vegan kind, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, and As Nature Intended.
“A couple of decades after Willicroft Farm first supplied Waitrose with Aberdeen Angus meat, it’s pretty exciting that Willicroft in its reimagined form is supplying the same store with plant-based cheese,” said Vanstone.
“It’s super humbling that our fondue, cream cheese and grated cheese Italian style cheese are now available across the UK. We’ve always believed that by focussing on the taste and our environmental footprint in equal measure we would be creating something special and are stoked Waitrose supports us on that mission,” he added.
We believe planet and profit can run in tandem and by that, we believe you can consciously grow a business at speed with the right foundations.Brad Vanstone, Founder of Willicroft
Currently funded by ten angel investors, the company will be launching in the near future a crowdfunding campaign to finance its growth ahead. Speaking to Green Queen, a spokesperson for the company revealed that Willicroft’s main ambitions include expanding across Europe, Germany, France and Switzerland while focusing on the U.K. market, as well as entering the U.S. and Asia in the longer-term. With its commitment to minimise its environmental impact, investing in localised production facilities to reduce transportation emissions will be a key part of the company’s growth strategy.
“We believe planet and profit can run in tandem and by that, we believe you can consciously grow a business at speed with the right foundations,” Vanstone told Green Queen.
The founder also added that there will be specific responsible growth targets that Willicroft has laid out, which include achieving B Corp status and running a project to transition farmers away from meat and dairy production across three countries. On a personal note, Vanstone hopes that one day, his father, the biggest cheese lover he knows, will choose plant-based cheeses too.
All images courtesy of Willicroft.