London-based alternative meat brand THIS raises £11M funding, eyes to expand R&D
THIS, a hyper-realistic plant-based meat brand headquartered in London is one of the fastest-growing foodtech businesses. Recently, the company has raised £11 million in a Series A funding round led by Business Growth Fund (BGF) and Lever VC.
Eyes to expand R&D
Notably, this is the largest Series A funding secured by any plant-based meat brand in the UK. THIS will use the funds to grow its business, expand its R&D, help bring its new products to the market and set up distributions points across the UK.
The company plans to grow its in-house R&D team four-folds this year and develop all recipes in-house at a ‘Willy Wonka’ style R&D Centre in London. Besides these, THIS has submitted two patents for its use of high moisture extrusion technology.
Andy Shovel, Co-founder of THIS, says: “We are absolutely thrilled, as we are now in a position to lease an office with windows. The team were losing their sense of humour over our current neon-lit home. In addition, this investment will unlock the most exciting new product development schedule. We’ve got some wacky plans for new tech and a huge line up of plant-based products, which will make eating plant-based food that bit easier for consumers.”
Daina Spedding, investor at BGF, says: “THIS is a highly innovative business that is rapidly scaling in a very exciting new food category in the UK. Plant-based meat alternatives are increasingly empowering consumers with more choices in their diet and environmental impact – and THIS is at the forefront of this with leading technology, distribution and products. With our long-term investment approach and national network of expertise, BGF will support the highly-ambitious management team at THIS to scale and expand further.”
Nick Cooney, Managing Partner at Lever VC, says: “We’ve never seen a plant-based meat company grow its sales and its store count as quickly as THIS™ has. We think the company is well on its way to being a category leader in the UK and beyond, and we’re delighted to back THIS’s stellar team and support their expansion into new products and new markets.”
Fastest-growing food brand
THIS was founded in 2019 by Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman to create a plant-based meat brand for meat eaters. In two years, it witnessed a record-breaking growth rate of 530% amidst the pandemic, thereby becoming the fastest-growing UK food brand, let alone meat-alternative brands.
THIS has sold 22 million portions of its products, which is said to be sufficient to feed the combined populations of Greece and Portugal. Eventually, it has saved 6.7 million kilograms of CO2 emissions. The increase in sales is due to the COVID-19 restrictions, wherein people had to cook at home in unprecedented numbers than ever before.