9. THIS™

With an aim of putting the world’s livestock into early retirement, THIS™ is leading the UK’s transition away from meat using hyper-realistic, hyper-tasty alternatives.

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Marketing Award Shortlisted

To recognise the startups that demonstrate the most creative and effective method for building early-stage brand awareness.

Startups 100: Marketing Award

Founders: Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman
Year founded: 2019
Website: this.co

Water is wet, sand is dry, and meat is bad for the environment. Each of these facts is now common knowledge for the average UK consumer – which is likely why official figures show that our meat consumption is now at its lowest level since records began in the 1970s.

However, swapping out the UK’s meat-and-two-veg dinner plate for eco-alternatives hasn’t been an easy task. Over the past few years, big name brands have worked tirelessly to prove that plant-based doesn’t have to mean low taste. Leading the charge is THIS™.

THIS™ manufactures market-leading meat alternatives with hyper-realistic flavour. As a certified B Corp business, it aims to put millions of livestock into early retirement, by making a product that’s as tasty as beef, chicken or (the biggest challenge) bacon, with as much as a 92.4% reduction in emissions.

Rather than just reinforce the views of vegans and vegetarians, THIS™ is on a mission to persuade open-minded meat lovers of the virtues of bogus bacon.

If you’ve somehow missed THIS™ and its herculean marketing efforts (notable campaigns include the release of a bacon-scented perfume and sponsorship of a town named Quorn), you’ll find the brand in no fewer than 11 major retailers – including the Boots meal deal.

Founded by two lamb chop lovers, THIS™ is notable for its ability to strike the right tone with carnivores. Rather than just reinforce the views of vegans and vegetarians, THIS™ is on a mission to persuade open-minded meat lovers of the virtues of bogus bacon.

This could be why, when many plant-based rivals became roadkill in 2023, THIS™ survived the cull. As the meat-free market consolidated after its Beyond Meat-boom, Shovel says sales for THIS™ were up 50% year-over-year. Now, it's targeting profitability over growth, settling down to polish its numerous trophies on the UK’s supermarket shelves.

Having proven its product in the UK, the new target for the meat-alternative startup is world domination.

Previously featured twice before on our index, Shovel and Sharman are no strangers to the Startups 100. However, this is the first time the pair have reached the dizzying heights of our top 10. Having proven its product in the UK, the new target is world domination.

THIS™ has now gone Dutch, having made its first international launch into the Netherlands last year. One of the hottest markets for plant-based foods globally, four of the brand’s best-selling products are now on shelves across an impressive 430 Albert Heijn stores.

Through fun comms and top product quality, THIS™ has built an army of committed facon fans who have helped it raise £8m over two crowdfunding rounds. It’s also achieved a Net Promoter Score of 75%, signalling its presence as a staple in many household fridges.

Now set to lead Europe’s transition to plant-based food, THIS™ is really just the beginning for our ninth top startup.

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