This, the UK-headquartered plant-based meat company, has sold a minority stake to TV broadcaster ITV.
In return, ITV has agreed to invest £4m ($4.8m) in advertising for This, which makes meat alternatives to bacon, sausages, chicken, beef burgers and mince.
The company’s products are sold in major UK supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Asda, and also in foodservice. Earlier this month, This announced it had moved into its first overseas market, winning listings at the Netherlands’ largest supermarket group Albert Heijn.
ITV said the financing for London-based This is being provided through its ITV Adventures Invest programme via the broadcaster’s Media for Equity fund, which marks its first investment in the food category. The advertising will be spread across its own network and the ITVX streaming channel.
Andy Shovel, who set up This in 2019 with co-CEO Peter Sharman, said: “ITV is a media powerhouse, and to have them as an investor, especially as their first food business investment, is super exciting. Not only did we get to make the porkiest plant-based TV ad ever, the scale of the investment means that we can reach audiences across the country and get closer to making meat-free the norm.”
Another UK broadcaster Channel 4, has also previously invested in the alternative-food space. In a similar deal in 2019, the network took a minority stake in This’ plant-based meat peer The Meatless Farm Co. Unfortunately, however, the Leeds-based business called in administrators in June, a process from which it never emerged.
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VFC Foods, an alternative-chicken company in North Yorkshire, then bought the Meatless Farm brand in June.
ITV said the investment in This was the fourth by Media for Equity. Others include pet-food and accessories company PitPat, pain-relief brand Flarin and design business Resi.
Launched in 2021, ITV AdVentures Invest targets minority stakes in “early-stage digital and direct-to-consumer businesses” and also venture-capital investments in return for advertising on its channels.
Sheena Amin, a director of ITV AdVentures, said: “With four new ITV AdVentures investments so far this year, we’re really seeing the benefit of using the power of TV to help supercharge brands at a scale-up stage.
“We expect consumer demand for conscious consumption to continue to grow and with a broad set of products at attractive price points, This is the perfect brand to help make conscious eating accessible to all. With such a distinctive brand personality, I am confident that This’ upcoming TV campaign will stand out from the crowd and help the brand become a worthy household name.”