Kale Foods eyes growth in the Nordics with ‘game-changing’ vegan brands

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Kale Foods' new CEO Anders Nilback to oversee Nordic expansion / Pic: Kale United
Kale Foods' new CEO Anders Nilback to oversee Nordic expansion / Pic: Kale United

Related tags plant-based

Kale Foods, a subsidiary of vegan investor Kale United, plans to expand its reach in the Nordics with the introduction of brands such as Heura, Mighty Pea and Veaganz into markets in the region.

In 2021, Kale Foods launched a range of internationally popular and pioneering brands to the Swedish market which included One Planet Pizza, Heura, Mighty Pea, Veganz and Livia's. The group now plans to build out its reach into additional markets in the region.

In 2022 Kale Foods said it will present ‘carefully selected products’ from ‘leading manufacturers around the world’ to the Nordic markets.

"Kale United has invested in more than 75 plant-based brands across the globe. From these we have hand-picked about 10% of those where we feel would perform well in the Nordic countries, where these brands can fill a gap in the market,”​ Kale United Founder Måns Ullerstam told FoodNavigator.

​One Planet Pizza, Heura, Mighty Pea, Veganz and Livia’s are already live in Sweden. Our next focus market is Finland followed by Norway and Denmark.”

Ullerstam said that, as a Swedish company with ties in other Nordic countries, Kale Foods is well-placed to help meet growing demand for plant-based options in the region. “We can help with expanding the reach of these global vegan game-changing brands."

Extending the reach of alt protein

Kale Foods says it works to create a ‘more sustainable society’ through plant-based foods, together with brands including Swedish vegan pioneers Astrid & Aporna.

Ullerstam said that the drive to expand in the Nordics reflects the group’s focus on extending the reach of plant-based businesses to help consumers transition towards more sustainable consumption patterns.

This approach underpins Kale Foods’ future ambitions for further geographic expansion. “We believe there is a need for a 100% plant-based distributor in every market. We are willing to expand into any market, via partnerships or acquisitions. Most likely the next region will be to expand east into the Baltics,”​ he told us.

Parent group Kale United is ‘expanding rapidly’ and is raising SEK100 million (€10 million) in capital to fund further investment in alternative proteins.

Looking at other levers Kale United believes will promote more sustainable consumption, Ullerstam pointed to the rapid pace of innovation in the alternative protein space. “The plant-based/cell-based field is in a rapid state of development and innovation right now. We believe that will continue for the next ten years. We constantly invest in new R&D projects with new proteins, new fermentation technologies, new categories such as plant-based seafood and egg substitutes.”

New CEO to spearhead growth

Kale Foods also revealed the appointment of Anders Nilback as chief executive, effective this month. 

Bringing more than 25 years of experience in the food business to the role, Ullerstam said Nilback is ‘an ideal recruitment’. His most recent role was as CEO of Brödverket, an innovation company within the Polabröd brand family. In addition to this, he worked as the marketing and export manager at Fria Bröd, and as an oat product consultant for Lantmännen Swedish Oats.

"I am passionate about working with a company that makes a difference; Kale Foods focuses on innovation to meet the growing consumer demand for vegan products. This year we are investing and expanding the Astrid & Aporna range and distribution, as well as introducing more successful international plant-based products to the Swedish market, which is also extremely exciting,”​ Nilback commented.

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