Muscle Food eyes new markets and retail channels

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Muscle Food founder Darren Beale said BGF's investment was a “big step forward”
Muscle Food founder Darren Beale said BGF's investment was a “big step forward”

Related tags Nutrition

UK protein e-commerce distributor Muscle Food plans to grow its business by rapidly ramping up its presence in Europe and extending its reach in conventional retail channels.

Muscle Food has carved out a niche supplying consumers with a mix of high protein foods, lean meats and a healthy range of ready meals including its Protein Pizza. It’s target customers are health conscious consumers and budget-conscious families, the company said.

Launched in 2013, the group now generates a turnover of €112.6m (GBP100m) and sells around 53,000 items daily. Muscle Food is currently valued at €56.3m (GBP50m).

Beefing up in retail

Muscle Food brings its branded processed foods to shelves
Muscle Food brings its branded processed foods to shelves

While Muscle Food started life as an e-commerce platform, the company is extending its reach in the UK retail space.

The group has secured listings for its branded products, such as Muscle Food Protein Pizza, in Sainsbury’s, Spar and Co-op in the UK. It is also present in more than 300 Musgraves stores in Ireland.

“We retail our protein pots and pizzas in Musgraves, our liquid egg whites into Co-op and Spar and Pizzas into Morrison’s and Sainsbury’s. We see retail as a key growth opportunity in the future,”​ chief operating officer Steven Curran told FoodNavigator.

The company has secured €11.2m (GBP10m) in fresh funding to support its growth plans. Muscle Food has won the backing of investor BGF, which was set up in 2011 and since then has invested around GBP1.3bn in 200 small and medium-sized companies including recipe kit group Gousto.

Muscle Food founder Darren Beale said the funding was a “big step forward”​ for the brand.

“It gives us the ability to expand faster and further than we could have done without the cash injection and to invest in concepts we believe could bring us a good return… The expertise we’re gaining from BGF will help us get in front of important contacts and open doors for us both on the UK high street and further afield.”

Building muscle in Europe

As well as expanding in UK retail, Muscle Food has set its sights on growing in continental Europe.

The company has recently successfully launched in the Netherlands, Germany and France with plans to grow across Austria, Spain, Poland, Ireland and Italy during 2018.

Other countries it will be targeting include Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Muscle Food is entering these new markets by developing its e-commerce platform. However, European retail listings could also be on the cards, Curran revealed.

“European growth is predominately focused ​in our online business although options are open for retail, although no listings as yet.

“We are currently working on a three-year European plan to include the opening of a European distribution ​centre in our plans. Currently, live are France, Germany and the Netherlands with encouraging numbers already.”

High protein foods and lean protein meats are rising in popularity among European consumers. Join FoodNavigator in Amsterdam this March for the inaugural Food Protein Event to drill down on the hot trends, innovations and science that are supporting growth. Click here to find out more​.

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