Unilever Acquires 'The Vegetarian Butcher' In Bid To Tap Into Vegan Market

The company's founder says Unilever's takeover means massive growth will be possible; he wants the brand to be 10x as big in two years
The Vegetarian Butcher
Unilever wants to reach plant-based consumers (Photo: The Vegetarian Butcher)

Unilever has acquired Dutch brand The Vegetarian Butcher in a bid to add more vegan products to its portfolio.

The Vegetarian Butcher was founded by former cattle farmer Jaap Korteweg who will remain involved in the manufacturer of plant foods following the takeover.

Korteweg told Dutch media that Unilever's acquisition of the brand means the products will be able to reach more people; they are currently sold in 17 countries, Unilever is active in 190.

The company's products include vegan chicken chunks, burger, and mince among others. UK residents can find the products in Waitrose stores.

Vegan growth

"From a financial perspective, we might have been better off going for another offer, but we have opted for the greatest possible growth for Unilever, and we want to be 10 times as big in a couple of years instead of five times," said Korteweg.

"The special thing about Unilever is that it looks for companies with a mission, and that mission continues, and we are not the first in that sense.

"Just think of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream brand, which has been owned by the multinational for 18 years, and is still innovating recently, with vegan ice-cream, a very good and successful product,"

According to Unilever: "The brand will fit in well within our portfolio of 'brands with purpose' which have a positive social impact [and] are better positioned to meet the needs of consumer."

The financial details of the deal have not been revealed.

*This story was updated on December 20 to reflect that Unilever is active in 190 countries, not 170 as previously stated.

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