The owners of US-based Jensen Meat Co, have acquired local plant-based business Before the Butcher.

Gregg and Jeff Hamann, who have owned ground beef producer Jensen Meats since 2011, have taken a controlling interest in the fellow Californian business for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition gives Before the Butcher access to a US$25m line of credit, a 90,000 sq ft production space, and cold storage warehousing facilities that, it said, will enable it to quickly scale up to meet escalating market demand for meat alternatives.

Before the Butcher launched its Uncut brand in the foodservice channel last year, initiated retail distribution last month, and currently has a portfolio spanning 12 products, including plant-based beef, chicken and turkey burgers as well as breakfast sausage patties, chorizo, pulled pork, chicken chunks, beef tips, and multiple varieties of ground beef and sausage.

It is expecting its retail distribution to reach more than 3,000 stores nationwide by August, joining foodservice customers that include 1,000 restaurants and 20 school districts. 

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Danny O’Malley, founder and president of Before the Butcher, who remains part-owner of the company, said: “This acquisition validates our diversified product strategy and also gives us both the financial resources and the production capacity to support our strong growth forecasts,”

“It effectively turns us from a start-up to a major player in the space.”

Jeff Hamann said: “It’s clear that plant-based meats are on a growth trajectory. That makes Before the Butcher an ideal companion investment to Jensen Meats.

“With the company’s solid foodservice base, new retail initiative and broad product assortment, we are anticipating strong performance that will put the Uncut brand firmly on the map.”

Before the Butcher’s Uncut products are made from a combination of plant protein, soy, coconut and canola oils,and natural seasonings.