THE NETHERLANDS, Rotterdam. Unilever is acquiring The Vegetarian Butcher. The acquisition fits with Unilever’s strategy to expand its portfolio into plant-based foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact.
With this acquisition, Unilever is responding to the growing trend among consumers to increasingly opt for vegetarian and vegan meals. For The Vegetarian Butcher, the acquisition is the next step in its ambition to grow into ‘the largest butcher in the world’.
Jaap Korteweg became a vegetarian and founded The Vegetarian Butcher in 2007 to satiate his own need for quality ‘meat’, which was not produced from animals. The products made by The Vegetarian Butcher are being sold in over 4,000 outlets in 17 countries. According to Korteweg, the acquisition has come at the right time.
Unilever and The Vegetarian Butcher started working together in 2016 when they jointly launched the ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Satay Sauce’ and ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce’, which were marketed under the Unox brand.
The acquisition is a step on Unilever’s journey towards a portfolio with more plant-based products. Currently, Unilever is selling nearly 700 products with V-label in Europe. In the Netherlands, these include products from Unox, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Conimex and Ben & Jerry’s brands.
The Vegetarian Butcher employs approximately 90 people, who are expected to remain with the business under Unilever ownership.
The acquisition is being made for an undisclosed consideration and is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.