30. THIS

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Founders: Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman
Founded: 2019
Website: www.this.co

THIS appears for the first time in the Startups 100 at position 30, offering plant-based food products for meat lovers.

Starting in 2019, founders Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman wanted to create a product that was sustainable and ethically sound without sacrificing taste, texture, usability or nutritional value. After two years of research and development alongside world-leading scientists and flavourists, THIS began.

With a core belief that meat-eaters shouldn’t have to compromise on taste if they want to cut down on meat, THIS’ target market isn’t necessarily vegans, but those looking to cut down on their meat consumption. Today, a third of the UK population falls into this category of ‘meat reducer’, marking a clear market for a business like THIS that can offer a product that effectively mimics the taste and texture of real meat.

Available in restaurants and from several big-name retailers, THIS is quickly making a name for itself on the UK food scene. With a range of eight products so far (focussing on ‘isn’t chicken’ and ‘isn’t bacon’), the brand is looking to expand in the coming years.

One of the questions THIS is always asked is ‘how do you get it to taste so similar to meat?’. Shovel and Sharman make no bones about how difficult this has been – it’s taken nearly two years to perfect their recipes, and they’ve thought of everything, from smell to texture.

At a time when consumers are more discerning, and want products that help them achieve their moral and ethical goals, THIS is tapping into a huge market.

As vegan products become more prominent, recipes and ingredients that replicate the taste and texture of the products being replaced are sure to offer THIS a taste of business success.

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