On July 13th, London’s LUSH Studio hosted a tasty gathering of some of Britain's most innovative food pioneers for the inaugural Pitch + Plant startup competition. Created by Vevolution, the competition was designed to shine a spotlight on new plant-based innovations in foodtech, a space that continues to experience considerable growth in Europe and beyond.
Growing opportunities for European foodtech
As the stock price of American alternative meat company Beyond Meat surged over 550% this summer, UK and European foodtech startups have also benefited from growing investor interest in plant-based foods. Berlin's Purple Orange Ventures has recently launched a €120,000 fellowship program for plant-based foodtech entrepreneurs, and foodtech startups have been some of the first recipients of Creandum's new $300M early-stage fund.
In the UK, Leeds-based startup Meatless Farm has announced a distribution deal with Whole Foods, forging their entry into the United States. Earlier this month, Glasgow-based alternative meat company Daring Foods shared a new partnership that will put their products in over 9,000 locations in the UK. The startup, founded in 2018, expects revenues to reach over £7 million for their first year of operations.
Speaking about the opportunity in this space, Niccolo Manzoni, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Five Seasons Ventures, a Paris-based venture capital firm said in an interview: “This is a super exciting area that we are looking at very closely. We are seeing companies emerging across Europe and the world as a whole, who are coming up with meat or dairy mimicking products and appealing to consumers.”
There is also a growing appetite for plant-based foods beyond meat alternatives. Rubies in the Rubble, a London-based startup operating both in foodtech and the circular economy, smashed through their recent crowdfunding round on Seedrs by 721%. In June, Munich's YFood "meal in a bottle" secured €4.2 million in Series A funding, led by Five Seasons Ventures.
Seven finalists selected for inaugural Pitch + Plant
Over fifty startups from across the UK applied to take part in the inaugural Pitch + Plant competition. Seven finalists were ultimately selected to pitch:
- The Green Grill & The Green Butchers
- Club Cultured
- Native Snacks
- Well Bean Company
- Five Dot Botanics
After consideration by the judges, two winners were chosen: Club Cultured and the Well-Bean Company. Club Cultured develops fermented superfoods and social enterprise The Well-Bean Company creates plant-based chocolates that support the Young Minds mental health charity. Both winning companies will receive seed funding and support from Vevolution.
On the winning startups, Vevolution Founders Damien Clarkson and Judy Nadel said: “We were blown away not only by these businesses but the founders passion to create a better future for us all. They represent the exact type of startups we believe will play an important role in developing a future more sustainable economy”.