The Meatless Farm Co. has secured fresh financing from a group of new and existing investors, funds the UK alternative-protein business will use to support its international expansion.

Headquartered in the northern city of Leeds with offices in Amsterdam, New York and Singapore, the company said in a statement the US$31m builds on a previous investment round of $17m, and comes from a mixture of existing and new private and family office investors.

While previous investors include the US-based private-equity fund Stray Dog Capital and Swiss investment firm Beyond Impact, The Meatless Farm declined to provide names for the latest round.

The Meatless Farm added the cash will be used to expand its product lines – currently burgers, mince and sausage – to access new regions and to develop its manufacturing operation in Canada.

At present, The Meatless Farm works with a contract manufacturer in the UK. In April, founder and CEO Morten Toft Bech told this publication the business would be starting additional production in Europe and in North America “within the next six months”.

A spokesperson for the company clarified the status of the Canadian plant. “We’re in the process of developing our Canadian operations. Part of this is looking at how we can shorten the journey from seed to shelf and align even closer to our aim of creating a more sustainable food system. It’s an exciting time for us as we move into our next phase of growth.” 

Commenting on the latest investment, Toft Bech said in the statement: “We are seeing strong demand for our plant-based burgers, sausages and mince across all markets and see fantastic opportunities to grow the Meatless Farm brand rapidly as people look to eat more healthily and sustainably post Covid-19. Our ambition is to continue to expand our global operations organically, whilst also looking to participate in M&A activities around the consolidation of smaller plant-based companies.”

Asked for more detail on the planned M&A, the spokesperson told just-food: “Our organic growth is very strong, and The Meatless Farm brand has built up a potent loyalty with consumers, retailers and foodservice customers. However, the category is evolving very quickly, and this could see more M&A and collaboration across the category in 2021.”

The Meatless Farm’s European markets include Germany, Benelux, Sweden and Ireland, and the Baltic countries, Spain, Switzerland and Malta are new additions to the list, the spokesperson confirmed. “Beyond Europe, we have made headway across the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America. We’re always looking at international opportunities across both retail and foodservice channels.”

The company is also present in the US, Canada, the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong. “Singapore is our Asia-Pacific hub but we see huge potential in that region as a whole, in addition to our presence in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia,” the spokesperson said.

The firm said it hopes to continue what it says is annual sales growth of around 180% in the UK, on a like-for-like basis, and claims it has “become a serious contender in the global plant-based market, alongside US groups Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat”.

A year ago, The Meatless Farm announced a “seven-figure” investment deal with TV broadcaster Channel 4