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U.K.-based movement Veganuary’s co-founder Mathew Glover unveiled a new vegan fried chicken brand called VFC. Today, a mere 3 months after its launch, the company is in the news again thanks to a GBP£2.5M (approx. US$3.4M) round of seed funding that will help scale the firm’s production of plant-based chicken.
Joining forces with famed chef and restaurateur Adam Lyons, Glover’s VFC offers its customers two plant-based chicken products made from wheat protein. The brand was born from Glover trialing Lyons’s vegan chicken at the latter’s Source restaurant. Both share a commitment to ending animal farming, which led to them launching VFC.
Since its debut, the brand has gone from strenght to strenght, garnering attention from retailers as well as foodservice companies from across the globe, a good part of its success being the increasing number of U.K. retailers stocking up on VFC’s products, its successful D2C business, and a well-received first expansion into Spain.
The seed round was led by Veg Capital and included investment from the senior leadership team and Johnson Resolutions. These funds will help VFC ramp up its production and allow for further brand expansion in the country as well as overseas.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, Glover, who is also the co-founder of the Veganuary charity campaign and the MD of vegan investment fund Veg Capital, said that the company’s main aim is to end factory farming. “And so we are focused on driving efficiencies through our business that will allow us to compete directly with chicken on price, taste and convenience. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the well the launch phase has gone. Now, with this funding, we can really scale up, and drive up that all-important Chickens Saved figure.”
Our ultimate mission is to end factory farming and so we are focused on driving efficiencies through our business that will allow us to compete directly with chicken on price, taste and convenienceMatthew Glover, Co-founder of VFC
Over the past months, VFC has taken consumer feedback into account and is now busy innovating a superior version of their plant-based chicken products to better match its traditional counterparts.
Going forward, the company wants to help meat-eaters switch to their products and will measure that success by the number of chicken lives it is saving. VFC says that by the end 2023, it plans to achieve sales of GBP£20M (approx. US$27.5M), a target that is equivalent to 3 million chickens, and GBP£50M (approx. US$68.6M) goal by 2025, or a saving of 7.5 million chickens.
VFC Director of Sales Stewart McGuckin said that the seed funding has exceeded all expectations. “The launch phase has been phenomenally successful, with sales far exceeding our expectations, incredible foodservice and retail interest, as well as inquiries from more than 50 countries. All this has shown us two things: we have a brand and a product that people really love, and that we are ready to shift up a gear.”
According to the company, 90% of all animals slaughtered each year for their meat are chickens.
From the focus on removing as many animals from the food chain as possible to their unbashful activism, supporting the education on the impact of one’s dietary choices, we are proud to follow on from our pre-seed investment and support the team in their growth plansCliff Johnson, Financial Advisor at Veg Capital
Data has shown that consumers are opting for plant-based alternatives as surveys show evidence with record levels of consumer interest to make a switch to vegan meat. Even United Nations put out data that highlighted the fact that per capita meat consumption is falling rapidly, something unseen in decades.
Cliff Johnson, financial advisor at Veg Capital, said that given that VFC aligns itself with protecting animals, Veg Captial is one of its fiercest supporters. “From the focus on removing as many animals from the food chain as possible to their unbashful activism, supporting the education on the impact of one’s dietary choices, we are proud to follow on from our pre-seed investment and support the team in their growth plans.”
As part of the funding announcement, the company announced that Glover will become VFC’s CEO and his business partner Chef Lyons will continue to supervise operations with new openings to be shared soon.
Back in January, Veganuary reached a record-breaking 580,000 signups with people committing to eat only vegan food the entire month, news that followed right after VFC’s launch.
Recently, the Good Food Institute published data that showed that on a global level, investment in the alternative protein sector reached an all-time high with US$3.1 billion invested into the industry in 2020.
This is a good sign given that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that it is crucial we reduce the meat in our diets as it is one of the most ideal ways to limit our carbon footprint on the planet.
Lead image courtesy of VFC.