UK-based vegan ready-meal maker Shicken is aiming to become profitable in 2025 having launched in the US earlier this year.

Shicken co-founder Parm Bains told Just Food the company is forecasting it will grow “five times in terms of revenue with a revenue target of £5.6m” ($7m) following a new listing in the US last month.

The plant-based ready-meals are now available in 410 Sprouts Farmers Market stores across the US, making the country its sixth international territory.

Bains, who founded Shicken with his wife Satvinder, said: “What we’ve seen is actually greater opportunity from an international scale because the domestic market has become oversaturated. There are a lot of players within the plant-based category, whether it’s frozen or whether they’re chilled.

“One of the key things that we have is that our current manufacturing site [in Dartford, Kent] has capacity of 20,000 metric tonnes of volume that we can do. We’re only using 15% of that capacity within the factory. So there is scope for us to continue that growth within the plant-based market, whether that’s in the domestic market or in the international market.”

The co-founder said that 70% of the business will be international with 30% focused on domestic.

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The business recently received £4m ($5m) in its second round of backing from vegan investment fund Veg Capital, bringing the total of invested capital since Shicken was established in 2020 to £6m.

Bains said: “This new piece of funding is all around continuing to invest in the facility that we have, continuing to invest in our team, to grow the team. That can support myself and Satvinder to continue that global expansion.

“We want to maintain the longer-term strategy to continue having an impact on animals in the food supply chain and producing products that are ethical and sustainable, and ultimately inheriting this and passing this business on to our kids.”

He added that Veg Capital, founded by Veganuary campaign co-founder Matthew Glover, now has a “sizeable stake” in Shicken, without disclosing details.

Shicken’s products range from a selection of plant-based alternatives to Indian-style curries as well as vegan kebabs. The plant-based chicken alternative is made with a blend of soya, wheat and pea protein.

Bians told Just Food the Dartford-based business is also open to own-brand and private-label manufacturing and is “exploring various opportunities for late 2024 and even going into 2025”.

The group is already present in foodservice channels through US-based Sysco as well as discount retailer Costco in its European markets, including in the UK, Iceland, Sweden, France and Spain.

Commenting on the state of play in the plant-based sector at the moment, Bains said: “The market was kind of flooded with a lot of plant-based products and what we’ve seen actually over the last 18-24 months is that the market has actually matured. What you’re seeing now is higher quality products mainly in the category and the lower quality products have actually dropped out, so that’s really key for us as a business going forward: quality is key.”

He added: “As we go through a phase of very fast-paced growth and now that the category is maturing and consumer behaviour has changed because of the current climate we’re in, consumers have less money to spend. They’ve been very selective of where they’re spending that money.

“I think that challenge, as a plant-based community of manufacturers and brands, is we’re all going for that space right now. And, for us, it’s about making sure we are talking to consumers and we’re presenting our products to consumers.”