The deal, for an undisclosed fee, is part of Unilever’s strategy to tap the growing plant-based meat trend, and takes the Dutch business closer to fulfilling its ambition of becoming the “largest butcher in the world”.
The Vegetarian Butcher founder Jaap Korteweg said the acquisition is part of its next steps to “conquer the world” and make plant-based meat “the standard”.
“We believe that with Unilever’s international network, this acquisition will help to accelerate our mission,” said Korteweg.
The Vegetarian Butcher, which sells its products to more than 4,000 outlets in 17 countries, has worked with Unilever since 2016 after co-launching the Vegetarian Meatballs in Satay Sauce and Vegetarian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, which were marketed under the Unox brand.
The Dutch firm will remain with the business under Unilever’s ownership.
“The Vegetarian Butcher is a brand with a clear mission, many loyal ambassadors, a good following on social media, and a strong position in the market,” said Unilever’s president for foods and refreshments Nitin Paranjpe.
“The brand will fit in well within our portfolio of ‘brands with purpose’, which have a positive social impact, are better positioned to meet the needs of consumers and are growing faster. Importantly, this acquisition will help us to accelerate our journey towards more plant-based food.”
The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.