From Leeds: First sustainable packaging ice-cream startup Northern Bloc picks £1.5M, big plans to boost vegan range


Leeds-based ice cream manufacturer Northern Bloc, which manufactures a range of plant-based ice creams has secured a seven-figure investment. The company works with the intention to become the leading plant-based ice cream brand. The urban ice cream brand has scooped the funding as a direct result of the success of its market-leading vegan range.

Investment to fuel expansion

Northern Bloc has raised the seven-figure investment from Mobeus Equity Partners. It will use the investment to fulfil its ambitious expansion targets in the plant-based sector that is growing. Northern Bloc will invest the funding in increasing its production capacity, strengthening the team and focusing on brand experience across retail and out of home.

The Mobeus deal team comprised Jane Reoch, Investment Director, and Amaad Mahmood, Investment Executive. Paul Keen, previously CFO of ETC Venues, will join the board as a Non-Executive Director. Jane commented: “Northern Bloc is a true breakthrough brand, well positioned for growth as the plant-based movement garners global attention. The products use all-natural flavours with no compromise on quality or taste. Dirk, Josh and the team have been a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction”

Demand for plant-based ice-cream

The pandemic crisis has made a vegan diet more appealing to a quarter of young British millennials, as per a Mintel study. Northern Bloc’s own sales support this and the sales of vegan supermarket has grown over 60% in 2020. Another study by Veganuary hints that 32% of survey participants are eating more vegan food and 41% of respondents admit that this is due to the link between animal agriculture and pandemics.

Northern Bloc cofounder Dirk Mischendahl explained: “The appetite for sustainable eating has jumped forward five years, in the space of just one. The result of our actions on the planet became very real in 2020, both in terms of the origin of the pandemic and the positive changes that were made to the environment during the global lockdown. Plant-based is no longer a dietary requirement, it’s fast becoming a way of life and Northern Bloc is proud to be at the forefront of bold, innovative, amazing tasting products which suit this revolution.”

Josh Lee, cofounder at Northern Bloc said, “Doing the right thing is at the heart of Northern Bloc, from leading the way in sustainable innovation to supporting our partners and customers. Partnering with a responsible investor was fundamental to our growth strategy and we’re delighted to be working with Mobeus, which shares our vision and values.”

First sustainable packaging ice-cream brand

Northern Bloc was founded in 2014 by Josh Lee and Dirk Mischendahl. The urban ice cream brand has strong distribution in the retail sector, with listings in Waitrose, Co-op and Morrison’s. Its individual tubs are available in theatres, arts venues and tourist attractions across the country. During the lockdown while these venues were shut, the company started focusing on retail and supported its key out-of-home customers.

Also, in 2020, Northern Bloc was claimed to be the first ice-cream brand in the UK to introduce fully sustainable packaging, removing the plastic coating on its paper tubs to a fully recyclable, compostable alternative.