Unilever is following the lead Cargill and Tyson Foods by expanding its portfolio into plant-based foods having this week acquired The Vegetarian Butcher.
The move – for an undisclosed amount – is also motivated by the growing global demand for healthier foods that have a lower environmental impact.
As far as The Vegetarian Butcher is concerned, getting gobbled up by Unilever offers the next step in its ambitious of becoming the “largest butcher in the world”.
Founder Jaap Korteweg: “Unilever’s international network across 190 countries, provides every opportunity to accomplish this.”
The two companies started working together in 2016 when they jointly launched the ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Satay Sauce’ and ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce’, which were marketed under the Unox brand.
Currently, Unilever is selling nearly 700 products with V-label in Europe. In the Netherlands, these include products from Unox, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Conimex and Ben & Jerry’s brands.
Nitin Paranjpe, President Foods & Refreshment at Unilever, said: “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.
“The brand will fit in well within our portfolio of ‘brands with purpose’, which have a 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.”
The Vegetarian Butcher employs approximately 90 people, who are expected to remain with the business under Unilever ownership.