Meatless Farm, one of the UK’s fastest growing plant-based meat alternative brands, has launched a dedicated plant protein ingredients subsidiary, Lovingly Made Ingredients, to provide its global supply of TPP (textured plant protein) and expand into broader external supply operations.
Lovingly Made Ingredients will operate out of a new flagship plant protein facility in Calgary, Canada where it will be the first of its kind on this scale and one of the company’s biggest investments to date.
Capitalising on forecasts that the plant-based meat alternative market is anticipated to be worth $140bn by 2029, Meatless Farm has invested an initial $12 million USD (£8.53 million) in its manufacturing infrastructure with the 30,000 sq ft plant, which will have the capacity to produce up to 14,500 tonnes of plant protein ingredients by 2023. The scale of the facility and investment in innovation also enables the expansion into producing customised plant proteins for selected external partners, across meat-alternatives, bakery, snacks, cereals and more.
The facility will utilise cutting edge manufacturing processes to enable a significant reduction in water and energy use – a key challenge in plant-based protein production – and aims to be net zero on carbon emissions throughout the supply chain within the first year. It will become an important step in the business’ Farm to Fork program which will prioritise a secured and sustainable supply chain. The vision for this program is to work directly with farmer collectives to source peas and guarantee quality, freshness and full traceability.
The significant investment in the facility follows rapid expansion for the Yorkshire-based company, which was established in 2016 by founder Morten Toft Bech with the ambition of helping consumers cut down on their meat consumption and changing our global food system. It is now one of the fastest growing brands in the plant-based market, operating in 24 countries with multiple product lines stocked in six major supermarkets in the UK. January has seen its largest ever retail sales, up 78% on the same month last year helped by a booming interest in ‘Veganuary’ and ecotarian eating. January also saw the launch of further partnerships with iconic high street foodservice brands, including Pret a Manger to create a ‘Meatless’ version of their iconic Swedish Meatball wrap and with Leon to relaunch their best-selling LOVe burger. The Meatless Meatball wrap is the first new product to become a top five best seller in launch week in Pret’s history.
The company successfully completed two rounds of over-subscribed fundraising in the last year, with funds totalling $48 million USD (£36 million). This investment into cutting edge production will result in higher quality TPP to a custom recipe, enabling Meatless Farm to capitalise on increasing demand and opportunity for a broad range of meat-alternatives. The business has 10 SKUs planned over the next 6 months. The company is also investing in plants for Europe and Asia to help shorten the supply chain in local markets.
Morten Toft Bech, founder of Meatless Farm, said: “Meatless Farm started less than five years ago at my kitchen table so it’s amazing to see us open a facility of this size and scale and is testament to the growth and importance of this sector. The pace of global growth presents opportunities for how we can share our expertise and innovation with other partners and that is where Lovingly Made Ingredients comes in. Our mission to reduce global meat consumption looks beyond just our brand, we need to do more.
“Consumers are learning how big an impact reducing your meat consumption can have on cutting carbon emissions and that even small changes add up to help make a bigger difference – for example, in the UK, if we all had just one less meat meal per week we could see emissions reduce by around 8%. This is why we are focussing on making products that appeal to meat eaters, not just vegetarians and vegans and we want to support others in that mission too. A big part of that is having access to the best quality raw ingredients so that eating for the good of the environment doesn’t mean compromising on taste or nutrition.
“Canada is the pea-capital of the world so it makes sense to have a facility here which will give us the ability in future to grow, harvest, process and extract our pea protein all within one country. Bringing this under our own operations in Canada will have huge benefits for efficiency, quality, sustainability and innovation and enable us to offer that innovation and manufacturing expertise to other partners too.”
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