Investment in Vegan Companies Set to Hit Record Levels in 2021

New research has found that investment in vegan companies is expected to reach record levels in 2021, underlining the rapidly growing financial importance of the veganism boom.

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You don’t have to spend long in any UK city to realise how popular vegan food is becoming, with vegan options appearing all over menus and vegan-only providers flourishing.

Now though, new research analysing the investment in UK foodtech companies has found this trend is expected to run and run, with investment expected to reach record levels in 2021.

We spotlighted plant-based foods as a great business idea back in 2019, and recently discussed the growing popularity of plant-based meat. Multiple startups are now riding the wave of the veganism boom.

Multiple startups are now riding the wave of the veganism boom

How is investment in vegan companies expected to change?

A joint report by workspace provider Huckletree and startups data platform Beauhurst into the future of the UK foodtech market found some striking statistics about investment in vegan food companies.

In total, the UK has 125 active high-growth vegan foodtech companies. So far in 2021, these companies have raised £90m in equity funding.

This compares to just £64m raised in the whole of 2020, and means that the 2021 total is set to be a record high for investment in UK vegan food companies.

What’s driving this vegan investment boom?

The report picks out two key drivers powering the growing popularity of vegan food in the UK:

  • The number of fully committed vegans in the UK is growing rapidly – research conducted by Ipsos Mori for the Vegan Society found that the vegan population in Britain quadrupled from 150,000 in 2014 to 600,000 in 2019.
  • An increasing number of people want to eat less meat – a 2019 study by Ipsos Global Advisor revealed that half of people in Britain say they would eat a plant-based substitute for meat.

Which vegan food companies are poised to take advantage of this trend?

As the report points out, this is a diverse sector, and includes high-protein sustainable meat alternatives, vegan snacks and drinks, plant-based pet food, meat and dairy-free ready meals, and subscription recipe kits.

In terms of funding, two key players are:

  • Allplants (No. 7 in the 2021 Startups 100) – Founded in 2016, this plant-based pioneer offers chef-prepared vegan ready meals and has raised a total of £16m in equity and loan fundraising.
  • THIS (No. 85 in the 2021 Startups 100) – THIS only started in 2019, but has already raised £20.5m in equity, as its hyper-realistic, great tasting vegan meat alternative continues to catch the eye of consumers and investors.

Vegan fast food is another rapidly growing area, with companies like The Vurger Co (No. 27 in the 2021 Startups 100) redefining the popular idea of vegan cuisine with creations like dehydrated coconut (that mimics the texture of bacon) and Shiitake mushrooms braised in BBQ sauce.

With the veganism train showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, we can’t wait to see just how far these sustainable startups can go.

Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.

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