UK plant-based cheese supplier Honestly Tasty is in talks with wholesalers to expand in retail and foodservice after exceeding its fundraising target.
The London-based business, set up in 2018 by CEO Mike Moore, sells into almost 1,000 retail stores through clients including Holland & Barrett and Marks and Spencer. Its only foodservice customer is Honest Burger.
Moore is in talks with wholesalers including Suma, CLF, Harvey & Brockless and Curd & Cure.
The company has raised £304,000 ($380,800) in the new round, which closes today (13 December). It was targeting funds of £250,000.
Speaking to Just Food, Moore said Honestly Tasty is in discussions with potential customers in the Netherlands and Germany but is focused on growing in the UK first because of the opportunities he sees domestically.
“I think the best opportunities are still in the UK market for us to grow. There are so many big supermarket chains that don’t have a high-quality offering. You know, just looking at Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons, there’s a real gap in their offering,” Moore said.
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“We really want to nail down the UK as much as we can before we go hard on other territories. I think it’s a good strategy to be really established in your own country before going elsewhere,” he said.
In 2022, Honestly Tasty generated sales of £460,000. Moore said the company’s sales are projected to reach £700-800,000 in 2023 and £1.3m next year.
Despite the talks to enter the Netherlands and Germany, Brexit has made it difficult to expand overseas, Moore said. Honestly Tasty used to sell its products outside the UK before Brexit but the country quitting the EU “threw a spanner in the works”, he explained. “Getting stuff into Europe is harder than it used to be and costs more than it used to,” Moore added.
Honestly Tasty, which has its own manufacturing facility in north London, plans to spend part of the funds it has raised on R&D, with the company trying to expand the shelf-life of its products. It also has a plant-based mozzarella in the pipeline to launch into what remains a fledgling market.
One of the biggest challenges facing Honestly Tasty will be lowering its prices further, Moore said. The vegan producer had cut the price of its cheese items from £8 to £6, which multiplied sales five-fold.
Moore said he is aiming to “get [the products] out there as cheap as possible so that we can make it more and more accessible”.