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Wicked Foods, the plant-based snacks and ready-meals business in the UK created by the founders of Gathered Foods, has secured US$14m in funding ahead of a US launch.

The Series A round was led by New York-based Unovis Asset Management, an investor in alternative-protein businesses, and NRF Nove Foods, a wholly-owned plant-based subsidiary of NR Instant Produce in Thailand.

Wicked Foods was founded in 2016 by chef brothers Derek and Chad Sarno, along with Chris Kerr, a founding partner of Unovis. The Wicked Kitchen brand was launched in 2018 in collaboration with Tesco in the UK and Ireland.

A statement announcing the funding read: “With this funding now secured, more announcements will be made in the coming weeks demonstrating the rapid rise of Wicked Kitchen in the US.”

Last year, the Minneapolis-based company said it planned to enter the US market this summer, a move that is about to come to fruition with a pending announcement due later in July, a spokesperson confirmed, adding that Wicked Foods is currently only available in the UK and the Series A is the first funding round to date.

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Chief executive Pete Speranza said: “This funding supports the next giant leap in growth and adoption of the Wicked Kitchen product line – a journey that will span the globe. The breadth of offerings Wicked Kitchen brings to market allows motivated regional retail partners to commit to multi cross-category adoption.”

Wicked Kitchen’s portfolio features ready meals such as plant-based pizza, pasta and Asian-style dishes, dips, sauces and seasonings, vegetables, pesto, cakes, desserts and ice cream.

The Sarno brothers and Kerr are the same people behind the Gathered Foods plant-based seafood firm in New York, the owner of the Good Catch brand.

Kerr added: “Wicked Kitchen has an unparalleled range of exceptional products, a revered brand, and two founding chefs willing to stir the pot. Unovis is here to support this effort from every angle.”