Heura Seeks Profitability After International Growth Spurs 22% Increase in Sales

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Catalan plant-based meat company Heura has announced its year-on-year sales grew by 22% last year, thanks to increased distribution deals across Europe. The business now aims to be profitable by 2025.

Weeks after closing a €40M ($43M) Series B fundraiser, Heura has revealed that it posted €38.3M ($41.4M) in turnover last year, marking a 22% increase in annual sales. The positive figures were bolstered by international growth, where its sales rose by 63% from the year before – particularly in France (88%) and the UK (81%).

The plant-based meat company also cemented its leadership in its home market, capturing what it says is a record 26% market share and boasting the highest repeat rates in the category (50% above the average). Meanwhile, Heura’s portfolio accounts for four of the top five most-sold products in this sector in Spain.

“In a pivotal year of transformation for the plant-based sector, we emerged as a category developer leader, enabling other companies to accelerate the protein transition by introducing a licensing B2B division aimed at extending its impact to a global scale via breakthrough technologies,” said CEO Marc Coloma, who co-founded Heura with Bernat Añaños in 2017.

Expanding distribution and new B2B model fuel Heura’s growth

heura foods
Courtesy: Heura

The announcement caps off a year of successes for Heura, which makes plant-based alternatives to chicken, beef, pork and fish in multiple formats. The company ranked 10 on the UK’s Forward Fooding FoodTech 500 list (described as “the Fortune 500 of agrifood tech”), won the Pyme del Año 2023 (which recognises the contribution of Spanish SMEs to the UK economy), and secured the EU’s Marie Curie Grant.

Outside of accolades, individual products experienced commercial triumphs too. The latest iteration of its signature beef patty, the 3.0 Burger, is the best-selling vegan burger in southern Europe, and has triple the rotation of the second-best brand in Spain. Meanwhile, the York-style ham slices launched in October became the top-selling plant-based deli product in its home market within three months, accounting for 52% of the category’s growth in Q4.

Heura also inked several new distribution deals across Europe, including with Vueling, Hilton and Royal Caribbean in foodservice, and Intermarche (France), Auchan (Portugal), Pam (Italy), Colruyt (Belgium) and Waitrose (UK) in retail. Plus, it boosted its presence in Spanish schools via a collaboration with catering company Serunion.

The other major development in Heura’s 2023 was the launch of its B2B licensing division, powered by its patent-pending Good Rebel Tech system, which was unveiled in April. The proprietary process involves a novel thermomechanical processing technique, which relies upon mathematical models similar to AI.

“We are basing our approach and models on new scientific understanding of plant proteins that we generate in the tech lab,” Coloma told Green Queen in October. “We can improve [the] accuracy of our predictions, limit biases and, most importantly, develop breakthrough technological solutions which are based on new scientific knowledge; rather than optimising technologies that already exist based on published existing data.”

The tech can create additive-free, affordable plant-based foods with superior sensory and nutritional values and fewer ingredients, using only protein, water and oil to structure the product. This is how its 11-ingredient clean-label ham slices were created, and it opens up a new business model for Heura, allowing the manufacturers to leverage the tech in multiple food categories. Just earlier this month, it entered a partnership with plant-based CPG giant Upfield (which is an investor in the company) to license its tech.

The clean-label, nutrition-forward aspects will speak to a European population that is eating less meat, and primarily due to health, a reason cited by 47% of respondents in a 7,500-person survey last year. The poll further revealed that nutritional inadequacies of plant-based food were a concern for 24% of consumers. Globally, too, an Ingredion survey found that 78% would spend more money on products with ‘natural’ or ‘all-natural’ packaging claims.

Heura finds success in a year of challenges for the sector

plant based ham
Courtesy: Heura

It’s not all about health for Heura, of course. The climate is just as important, and an ISO-compliant life-cycle assessment has revealed that its products have a 70-98% lower environmental impact than their conventional counterparts. Last year’s sales represented water savings equivalent to 6,600 swimming pools, carbon savings of 36.5 million kg (which could power 4,600 homes for one year), and the sparing of 1.3 million animals.

Heura’s €40M Series B financing was the second-largest publicly announced funding round for a vegan company in 2023, and took total investment in the business to €88M ($95M). The plant-based meat player had said it would use the funding to “boost its impact in the food industry”, accelerate international expansion, introduce new products, and explore more collaborative models beyond its own meat alternatives.

Most notably, Heura said the investment would help drive the company towards profitability – and now it has confirmed its aim to become profitable by 2025. To do so, the business has “transitioned from a hypergrowth approach to a sustainable growth strategy”, which has involved changes to “improve efficiency and focus on the milestones nearing profitability”.

The financial results come just a week after plant-based meat giant Beyond Meat published its own Q4 earnings, which revealed an 18% decrease in annual revenue (which reached $343M), but a 2.5% reduction in net losses ($338M) from 2022 too. Its performance in the last quarter was better than analysts predicted, signalling a shift in fortunes for the company as well as the sector as a whole.

While VC activity has largely slowed down and sales have been disappointing over the last year, some feel that the sector’s slump will turn around this year. Matthew Glover, co-founder of the Vegan Food Group, told Green Queen this week: “The signs are that the declines are reducing, and I think we’ll be cheering the news that the categories will be back in growth during this year.”

While he acknowledged that double-digit growth won’t be a reality just yet for most plant-based meat companies – Heura has turned out to be an exception here – he added: “The economic climate generally seems to be improving, and there are some powerful advocacy programmes, which should help reengage consumers to the category.

“Whilst it’s a tough trading environment, I do feel like we’re soon to be over the worst of it. The planet and the animals need us to be successful, and I’m confident we will be.”


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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