In a strategic move to diversify its plant-based food range, vegan chicken producer VFC has announced its intent to acquire Clive’s Purely Plants, a UK-based vegan pie maker, for an undisclosed amount. Pending final due diligence, expected to conclude shortly, this acquisition will transform VFC from a vegan meat alternative company to a comprehensive plant-based food producer.
Strengthening VFC's Product Line
Clive’s Purely Plants, previously backed by Veg Capital—an investor in VFC—offers a premium selection of vegetable pies, savoury tarts, quiches, nut roasts, and sausage rolls. This new collaboration will broaden VFC's portfolio, which previously focused on meat alternatives. The acquisition also provides VFC with its first primary manufacturing facility, located in Dartmouth.
An Evolving Identity
VFC indicated that a new "trade-facing identity" would be launched in the coming months as Clive’s will operate as a fully supported subsidiary under VFC Foods.
Earlier this year, VFC rescued Meatless Farm, another UK-based alt-meat brand facing financial difficulties, with a £12 million deal. VFC’s CEO, Dave Sparrow, highlighted that the integration of Meatless Farm and now Clive’s, creates numerous synergies with valued customers and suppliers, thus “driving innovation and extending customer choice.”
"With three robust brands experiencing significant growth, we're better positioned to penetrate both retail and foodservice sectors across the UK and Europe," Sparrow stated. Esther Pearson, Clive’s managing director, expressed her excitement about the like-minded partnership and emphasized maintaining high customer service standards.
An Increasingly Competitive Market
Despite the UK being the second-largest European market for plant-based foods, with £964 million spent last year, the sector is showing signs of stagnation. This acquisition comes at a crucial time as companies in the plant-based sector vie for consumer attention amid a saturating market and increasing interest in lab-cultivated meats.
Sparrow mentioned that “reducing meat consumption is crucial for a healthier, more sustainable future.” He added that Clive's addition perfectly complements VFC’s aim to meet the growing consumer demand for varied, high-quality plant-based foods. VFC plans to focus on quality products, impactful brand communication, and maintaining affordable price points as they work to remain a leader in an increasingly competitive market.
Clive’s products are currently stocked in leading UK supermarkets including Waitrose, Asda, Ocado, and Abel & Cole, and an announcement regarding another major supermarket listing is expected this December.
This acquisition signifies a pivotal moment in the rapidly evolving plant-based food industry, spotlighting VFC as a formidable player ready to meet the diverse needs of today's consumer.