UK plant-based investment firm Veg Capital has taken a controlling stake in local food business Clive’s Purely Plants.
Veg Capital, based in Loughborough in the English Midlands and which primarily provides early-stage funding, has bought out existing majority shareholders Sally and Chris Carson.
Financial details have not been disclosed and nor has the exact size of the stake Veg Capital now owns in the business located in Devon, south-west England.
Clive’s manufactures vegan pies and other meat- and dairy-free baked goods such as savoury tarts and quiches. Its products are sold by retailers including Morrisons and Waitrose.
It said the investment will allow it to drive forward product development.
Founded in 1986 by Clive Lowe, who began selling the bakery’s signature Creamy Mushroom Pie from the back of his bicycle, the firm is headed up by managing director Esther Pearson.
As well as bricks-and-mortar retailers, Clive’s products are also distributed by food delivery service Abel & Cole and online at Ocado, as well as by independent health food shops up and down the country. It also exports to the US, Australia and Dubai.
Matthew Glover, managing director of Veg Capital and co-founder of the Veganuary movement,, which encourages people to go meat-free in the first month of the year, said: “This is such an exciting investment for us. Clive’s offers the best of both worlds – over 30 years of invaluable experience, with all the ambition, scope for growth and enthusiasm of a start-up.
“This partnership has huge potential to further our mission of replacing animals in the food system, and we’re thrilled to be working together.”
In 2020, Clive’s relocated to a new purpose-built site in Dartmouth, four times the size of its previous home in Buckfastleigh.
With the new investment, it is aiming to increase production by 400% to reach sales of GBP10m (US$13.8m). MD Pearson continues to maintain a share in the business.
She said: “We’re over the moon to have the backing of Veg Capital. It marks a new era for Clive’s, one where we can continue to expand, innovate, and help shape the future of plant-based eating. We’ll always stay true to who we are, focusing on food that tastes good, and does good.”
This week, Clive’s launched its first ever puff pastry pies – a Beefy Ale Puff Pie and Chickeny Puff Pie. The products feature seitan as a meat replacement.