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Plant Alternative, the startup behind the Shicken range of Indian chef-made vegan meals, has attracted the attention of prominent vegan investor Veg Capital. Backing the brand shortly after discovering the range, Veg Capital’s investment will help Plant Alternative scale up and expand—with its first stop to launch at a major UK retailer.
Plant Alternative, a British startup making 100% plant-based ready meals with its “mind-blowingly good” vegan chicken substitute, Shicken, has just secured funding from Veg Capital. Veg Capital is a UK-based investor in plant-based companies, co-founded by Matthew Glover of Veganuary fame, and has recently backed brands such as Planty, Brandplant and Super Vegan.
Plant Alternative Shicken meals
Founded by head chef Satvinder Bains, Plant Alternative offers a range of authentic home-cooked Indian frozen ready meals that are 100% plant-based. Using only natural ingredients primarily sourced locally within the UK, the flash-frozen vegan ready meals feature Shicken, its vegan chicken alternative made from soy protein.
Plant Alternative coats the soy-based Shicken pieces in a tandoori marinade before cooking on a live flame to give its signature barbecue-char, replicating the texture and taste of the real deal—but of course, without the need to harm any animals or the environment. The startup uses its Shicken in a range of ready-made curries, from vegan chicken Tikka Masala to chicken Korma and Saag.
The entire range, which is currently available on its direct-to-consumer website and in select independent retailers, is packaged in compostable sugarcane-based packaging with 100% recyclable paper sleeves.
‘I was absolutely blown away’
Sharing more about the decision to back the startup, Veg Capital managing director and co-founder Matthew Glover said: “Since discovering the Shicken range, and being absolutely blown away by how good the dishes were, I contacted the founder Satvinder to see if Veg Capital could invest.”
“The sauces are better than restaurant quality, in my opinion, and my meat-eating friends couldn’t believe the pieces weren’t real chicken. We think there is a real opportunity for frozen Indian meals in the curry-loving UK market and beyond.”
With fresh funds and leveraging on Veg Capital’s network, Plant Alternative will be able to scale up its business and enter new channels, including foodservice and export. The startup also plans to be able to launch a new ready made spicy Shicken Tikka Kebab range into a “major UK retailer” in the coming months.
“It is so humbling that Matthew is such a big fan of our products and sees their potential to seriously disrupt the global meat-based Indian food market, starting with our Shicken range,” said Bains.
Ready meals are set to become a major growth category in the plant-based market, with consumers looking for healthier and more sustainable options that are convenient, especially since the pandemic hit.
According to a recent Euromonitor survey, around 42% of consumers around the world now self-identify as flexitarians. In the UK, around a quarter of the population says they are cutting back on their meat and dairy intake.
All images courtesy of Plant Alternative.