LONDON, United Kingdom — UK plant-based meat brand This has raised £4.7 million in a funding series led by investment fund Backed.
The seed round also featured participation from Idinvest Partners, Seedcamp, Manta Ray Ventures and Five Seasons Ventures, whose founder has previously backed US plant-based behemoths Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. According to a statement from This, the capital has been earmarked for a new R&D centre, expansion of its team and enhancements to its manufacturing capabilities, to keep up with demand from the rapidly growing $12.1 billion plant-based meat market.
“We’ve been able to leverage our strong first few months to obtain this fantastic investment from strong partners,” commented This co-founder Andy Shovel.
Adding: “It allows us to massively boost our manufacturing capacity and crucially – to create a formidable innovation engine within the company, by establishing an internal R&D centre.”
Launched in 2018, This has quickly captured the imagination of consumers looking for meat alternatives. The brand, which claims its range of pea and soy-based plant alternatives such as ‘bacon’ rashers, ‘chicken’ goujons and salt & pepper ‘chicken’ are ‘hyper-realistic’, can be found in more than 1,200 outlets across the UK, such as Waitrose, Holland & Barrett and Ocado. Eateries including Chilango, Pure, The Vurger Co. and Crosstown Doughnuts also utilise the brand’s products.
Such partnerships have already enabled the startup to generate an annualised revenue of £3 million, and enjoy a compound growth rate of 35% month-on-month since it launched into retailers last June. And with the plant-based meat market predicted to rise to $27.9 billion by 2025, the brand is now eyeing global expansion throughout Europe and the US.
Despite an increasingly competitive market, Shovel believes This has the edge over rivals thanks to its convincing replication of the real flavours and textures of meat, which the startup argues, can fool even the staunchest carnivore.
“People want products that are not like the existing products on the market. They want a product that is truly a no-compromise option for them,” he recently told The Telegraph.
“They want to have the satisfaction and the taste and the nutritional profile of meat without the downside,” he added.
Carlos Espinal, Seedcamp’s managing partner, meanwhile, argues that This’ products “not only address increased consumer demand for meat-free alternatives but also help contribute towards building a more diverse and sustainable food supply-chain” — something a growing number of investors are factoring into the equation when deciding which brands are worthy of their backing.