Maybe you’re not “vegetarian,” per se, but many more of you carnivores are warming up to welcoming meat alternatives onto your plates—a fact that is altering major meat companies like Unilever. This week, Unilever announced it is adding The Vegetarian Butcher to its meaty portfolio as a means to expand its healthy and plant-based food offerings.
“The Vegetarian Butcher is a brand with a clear mission, many loyal ambassadors, a good following on social media, and a strong position in the market,” said Nitin Paranjpe, Unilever’s President Foods & Refreshment. “The brand will fit in well within our portfolio of ‘brands with purpose,’ which have positive social impact, are better positioned to meet the needs of consumers, and are growing faster. Importantly, this acquisition will help us to accelerate our journey towards more plant-based food.”
Unilever and The Vegetarian Butcher first collaborated in 2016 when the two companies launched two vegetarian meatball products. Unilever’s acquisition of The Vegetarian Butcher furthers the former’s journey toward offering a wider range of products that tap into the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.
According to a press release, Jaap Korteweg founded The Vegetarian Butcher in 2007 to satiate his own need for quality plant-based alternatives. The company’s products are sold in over 4,000 outlets in 17 countries.
“We want to take the next step—conquer the world. It is our mission to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard. We believe that with Unilever’s international network, this acquisition will help to accelerate our mission,” said Korteweg.
The Vegetarian Butcher employs approximately 90 people, all of whom are expected to remain with the company under Unilever ownership. The acquisition is expected to close before the end of 2018.
For more of the latest acquisitions, expansions, and growth in the deli, dairy, bakery, and specialty foods space, stay tuned to Deli Market News.