Veganuary co-founder launches plant-based investment fund: ‘The quality, availability and price of vegan products still needs work’

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Veg Capital will provide Angel, Seed and Series A funding to early-stage businesses in the plant-based space. Pic: GettyImages/lchumpitaz
Veg Capital will provide Angel, Seed and Series A funding to early-stage businesses in the plant-based space. Pic: GettyImages/lchumpitaz

Related tags Veganuary plant-based Investment Venture capital

A new not-for-profit investment company aimed at funding early-stage businesses has launched in the plant-based food space. There is ‘huge opportunity’ to disrupt traditional food sectors, managing director and Veganuary co-founder Matthew Glover tells FoodNavigator.

Veg Capital is a specialist private venture fund that will provide Angel, Seed and Series A funding typically ranging from £50,000 to £250,000 to early-stage businesses in the plant-based space.

Setting itself apart from traditional investment firms, the fund plans to donate all profits to UK and European animal protection charities.

Without providing specifics, Veganuary co-founder and Veg Capital managing director Matthew Glover told FoodNavigator that Veg Capital is financially backed by ‘a number of mission-aligned philanthropic investors’.

To be eligible, operators must meet the fund’s criteria. These, Glover said, are associated with the fund’s key focus: to help drive down the number of animal products in the food system.

Specifically, the fund plans to invest in four key areas: innovative forms of production with protectable intellectual property; plant-based replacements for meat, dairy, eggs, or seafood; advanced fermentation and tissue engineering to produce animal products from the cellular level; and distribution and systems that increase access to vegan products.

“We’re mostly going to be investing in the UK and Europe, but will consider interesting opportunities in emerging markets,” ​the MD continued.

Veg Capital: The time is ripe for plant-based investment

Interest in plant-based eating is certainly on the rise, as shown by the progressively popular Veganuary – which this year, saw its highest rate of subscribers yet.

In the UK, one-third of consumers have either reduced their meat intake, or removed it from their diet completely, which is contributing to demand for animal-free products.

In the month of January alone, more than 1,000 new plant-based products and menu times were launched in the UK. According to Veg Nation, global growth in demand has continued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“According to data commissioned by SPINS in the US, plant-based food sales spiked 90% (compared to last year) at the peak of panic buying – 25% higher than total food sales,” ​noted the fund.

In the four weeks following this period, plant-based food sales grew 27%, which is 35% faster than total retail food, Veg Capital continued.

Despite growing interest, Glover told FoodNavigator the market is far from saturated. “As the co-founder of Veganuary, I’ve learnt a huge amount about the movement as a whole.

“The plant-based food space is still relatively small, but there’s clearly huge opportunity to disrupt traditional animal-based food sectors. One thing that became clear from my time working on Veganuary was that the quality, availability and price of vegan products still needed work.

“By investing in innovative new products, I hope we can help lower the bar for people interested in adopting a more plant-based diet.”

Glover will remain a trustee at Veganuary, but stressed he will have no operational involvement on a day-to-day basis. “My trustee work at Veganuary and my role at Veg Capital will be kept totally separate.”

Veg Capital has already provided funding to nine companies in the plant-based space:

Mighty Pea ​produces a smooth, creamy, dairy-free alternative to milk, made from yellow split peas. According to the start-up, its Mighty Pea contains more protein and calcium than regular plant milk.

Grounded ​makes 100% natural sustainably packaged plant-based protein m*lkshakes. The start-up has ambitious plans to innovate in and disrupt the wider F&B space with only natural, plant-based ingredients. 

Mummy Meagz ​creates indulgent chocolate treats including a range of vegan Rockie Road bars and have recently launched the Chuckie Egg.

TheVeganKind ​is the UK’s leading 100% vegan online supermarket and vegan subscription service.

Plantifull ​makes plant-based meal pots and high-protein vegan jerky as well as 100% plant-based snacks.

Native Snacks ​are on a mission to unearth plant-based snacks around the world. Its first product range is Popped Lotus seeds from India.

One Planet Pizza ​is the UK’s first frozen vegan pizza company.

Good Catch ​makes plant-based seafood. The company aims to disrupt the seafood category, rather than the ocean’s natural resources.

Vevolution ​creates ‘inspiring' events and multimedia content for the ‘plant-powered positive changemakers'.

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