Unilever quietly announced that it was acquiring The Vegetarian Butcher just before Christmas Day in 2018. The acquisition furthers Unilever seemingly endless appetite for the sustainable foods market and strategy to expand its portfolio into the increasingly important plant-based foods market. While announcing their interest in investing in foods that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact, realistically, Unilever's sustainability march has as much to do with market share as it does the environment. (None of which is a bad thing of course.) The evidence of the enormous opportunity in the vegan and vegetarian markets is clearly evidenced by the food naming rights war between the vegans and the meat industry.
Vegans and vegetarians would have heard of The Vegetarian Butcher as their products are already in supermarket shelves around the world. Unilever has been working with The Vegetarian Butcher since 2016 when they jointly launched the ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Satay Sauce’ and ‘Vegetarian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce’. The products were developed and marketed under the Unox brand. The Vegetarian Butcher was founded by Jappy Korteweg, who comes from a long line of animal farming. He jumped the fence in 2007 and started The Vegetarian Butcher. The past 12 years have been spent developing and finessing plant based versions of pretty much any kind of meat. And if these fake chicken nuggets taste as good as they look, it's clearly been a useful 12 years.Jaap Korteweg has openly published his ambition to grow into the largest butcher in the world. “We want to conquer the world,” said Korteweg. “It is our mission to make plant-based meat the standard. This acquisition will help to accelerate our mission.” The Vegetarian Butcher is already in 4,000 outlets in 17 countries. Businesses interested in distributing The Vegetarian Butcher products should go to The Vegetarian Butcher website and follow the links. Unilever is the 5th biggest consuemr goods company in the world with annual sales of around $60 billion and with a presence in 190 countries.