Vegan meal delivery startup Allplants has nabbed £38 million (~$52 million) in Series B funding led by Draper Esprit to serve up more tasty plant-based, heat-at-home meals direct to U.K. consumers.
The round is being touted as the biggest ever Series B by a plant-based food company in Europe.
Earlier, the London-based startup raised a $7.5 million Series A (back in 2018) -- as well as taking in funding through the equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
It says its revenues have been more than doubling every year since its launch in 2017.
Other new investors in Allplants' Series B include purpose-driven consumer packaged goods fund The Craftory, Silicon Valley-based TriplePoint Capital, along with international England footballers Chris Smalling and Kieran Gibbs, and Cassandra Stavrou MBE, founder of U.K. independent snack company Proper Snacks.
Existing investors Felix Capital -- the VC behind oat-based milk alternative, Oatly -- and Octopus Ventures, also participated.
Rising concern over the climate impact attached to meat production has been driving interest in plant-based alternatives across the Western world in recent years.
Startups have been responding by developing a growing range of convenient alternatives to eating meat, including direct to consumer meal delivery options like Allplants and plant-based meat alternative products themselves, such as the likes of Heura -- and the latter type of products could end up as ingredients in an Allplants meal.
Alplants credits its growth to a rapidly growing "plant-curious," or flexitarian, consumer market -- which it says is now worth £10 billion in the U.K. alone and an annual £100 billion in developed markets. While the startup is U.K.-only for now its website notes that its got its sights on going global.
It says the new funds will go toward expanding its plant-based kitchen in Walthamstow, North London -- to 6x its current size so that it can meet surging domestic demand.
Currently it employs 140 chefs in its kitchens working 24 hours a day to prepare the meals that are delivered frozen to consumers for convenience -- meaning they require reheating before consuming, either in an oven or microwave, much like a traditional microwave meal.
Its current range of dishes cover breakfast, lunch, snack, treat and dinner, with the startup offering multiple types of world cuisine -- from curries and chillis to pasta and risotto and plenty more -- which contain vegan protein sources, such as vegan cheese, tofu, beans or meat alternatives like vegan chorizo.
Customers build a box of six meals, picking from its selection of dishes for home delivery and choosing a portion size that's either for one or two people.
It also sells a variety of bundles -- such as all/only "meat substitute" meals (for people who are used to always having hunks of meat on their plate) or a selection of "cheesiest" dishes (still with 100% vegan cheese) -- to cater to different tastes.
The startup's pitch points out that switching meat-based meals for plant-based alternatives is one of the most impactful ways that people can reduce their environmental footprint -- suggesting that just one additional day of plant-based eating per week reduces the average U.K. consumer’s total annual food carbon footprint by more than 10%.
In additional plans for its Series B, Allplants says it will be building scalable capacity for rapid distribution into other channels -- so it's potentially eyeing a multichannel distribution over the longer term, which might include retail outlets like supermarkets.
The funding will also be used for a significant expansion of its team -- with the startup set to hire across the entire stack of the business, from additional culinary-school-trained chefs through to operations, innovation, marketing and technology.
Other plans for the Series B include further expansion of the meals range to meet more tastes and preferences among a growing customer base, in addition to developing a broader range of product categories.
Commenting in a statement, Jonathan Petrides, founder and CEO of Allplants, said: "In the five years that we have been cooking, we’ve seen the demand for plant-based food explode. We’ve got a tonne of exciting plans to bring the movement to even more people’s kitchens, and this investment will allow us to do just that."
“Food choices are deeply personal, so quality and taste will always come first for us -- it’s the driver of everything we do, and what makes it so easy for our customers to include more plants in their diets without the compromise," he added. "We can now imagine, create and serve up many more delicious recipes and products, to ultimately accelerate the transformative impact that plant-based living will have on the future of our planet.”
In a supporting statement, Nicola McClafferty, partner at Draper Esprit, said: “This is an extremely exciting investment for Draper Esprit. Allplants is uniquely positioned at the intersection of some of the fastest-growing areas in food consumption today: high-quality, plant-based meals that deliver on taste, sustainability and nutrition in an incredibly convenient way for consumers.
“JP and the team have established a stellar brand with very clear values, incredibly strong growth and a loyal customer base. Allplants has real potential to scale its direct-to-consumer business while expanding into new channels both in the U.K. and beyond. We believe it can be a global brand, bringing nutrition, taste and convenience to the plant-curious consumer and we are delighted to be supporting the team as they grow and thrive.”