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Planet First Partners invests £20 million in THIS to accelerate UK growth through a combination of primary and secondary financing

June 17, 2024

UK plant-based food company, THIS, has announced the closing of its Series C equity funding round of £20 million. The round was completed by Planet First Partners, the European growth equity sustainable investment platform, through a combination of primary and secondary equity financing.

THIS will use the capital to accelerate growth in its UK home market through launches of new product ranges to cater to evolving consumer health preferences, while continuing to boost profitability on its core products. THIS expects to continue to gain market share with a strategy led by the new CEO, Mark Cuddigan, who will leverage the deep sector knowledge from his previous position as CEO of Ella’s kitchen.

The company is on a mission to lead a plant-based revolution, by providing consumers with nutritious, hyper-realistic and great-tasing meat alternatives. Last year, THIS grew revenue by nearly 50% to become the third-largest meat alternative brand in the UK. Since 2019, THIS has launched several market-leading products, including THIS Isn’t Pork Sausages, THIS Isn't Beef Plant-Based Burgers, THIS Isn’t Lamb Kebabs, and THIS Isn’t Chicken Shawarma. Through championing great taste and nutritional value, THIS has secured strong repeat sales with the big six supermarkets. THIS has recently also streamlined its operations, consolidating its production from 17 sites down to just three, with ongoing operational enhancements continuing to improve gross margins every quarter.

Since 2019, THIS has raised ~£35 million from institutional and crowdfunding investors, including BGF, Backed VC, FiveSeasons Ventures, Idinvest Partners, ECG Research, CJ Corporation, Manta RayVentures, Kreos Capital, Seedcamp, ITV and footballer Chris Smalling.

This investment represents a continuation of PlanetFirst Partners’ commitment to scale businesses which directly contribute to the climate transition. Complementing previous investments by the firm across energy transition, industrial, and green cities themes, this transaction marks the first investment by PlanetFirst Partners in its ‘Farm 2 Fork’ vertical, which strives to support more sustainable  agriculture  and food systems. The Planet First Partners team holds deep sector expertise in food and beverage sustainability, spearheaded by Executive Chairman Frédéric de Mévius. Prior to establishing Planet First Partners in 2020, Frédéric founded Verlinvest, an investment vehicle known for building brands such as Oatly and Vita Coco.

Planet First Partners will take two seats on the board of THIS. The fund is classified as Article 9 under the European Union's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). This means that the fund invests in line with strict guidelines, according to which portfolio companies must significantly contribute to sustainability goals.  THIS will directly contribute to the increased adoption of plant-based protein diets, in turn helping to prevent the conversion of biodiversity rich landscapes, and release cultivated land for ecosystem restoration.

“We are excited to welcome Planet First Partners into the THIS family," commented Mark Cuddigan, CEO of THIS. "Our partnership will be key as we continue to lead a revolution through our plant-based food to protect animals and the environment, growing brand love to become market leaders in the UK.”

“We are thrilled to partner with THIS and support its mission to revolutionize the food industry," added de Mévius, Chairman of Planet First Partners. "We believe the company is uniquely placed to capitalize on growing consumer preferences for sustainable and healthy food alternatives, whilst supporting the environment. I am personally excited to put my experience as a consumer investor behind a sustainable brand that is totally aligned with our fund’s sustainability objectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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