From KFC to 7-Eleven, plant-based fried chicken has never been more widely available, and now UK-based VFC Foods is planning to expand its distribution range significantly during the next year. The vegan fried chicken startup recently secured £7.5 million (US $10.3 million), announcing that it intends to allocate the new investment to scale up production and increase its presence in international markets.

Founded in 2020, VFC’s plant-based fried chicken immediately gained traction among the United Kingdom’s plant-based scene. Co-founder of Veganuary Matthew Glover and Chef Adam Lyons set out to create a plant-based fried chicken that rivaled the most desired fried chicken on the market without any animal-derived ingredients. The company teamed up with the UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco in October, doubling its popularity and distribution.

The latest investment round hosted by Veg Capital will allow the company to accelerate its international expansion. The venture capital firm will propel VFC into the international market, upscaling production and increasing the number of offerings. Currently, the company offers meat-free chicken fillets, popcorn chicken, and chicken bites.

“There has been huge interest from investors and we’re very grateful for that,” Glover said in a statement. “By working with Veg Capital we’ve been able to focus purely on scaling the business as fast as possible to take advantage of the opportunity.”

While the plant-based chicken company has established strong partnerships with UK retailers, it is working on solidifying its US presence. The company initially entered into the US market this past September, distributing its plant-based fried chicken to select quick-service restaurants nationwide. The company revealed its bulk packages, allowing restaurants in the US and Canada to purchase 22lbs of vegan chicken per box. VFC aims to meet the rising demand for its vegan chicken within the US over the next year.

“The reception from both customers and consumers has been incredible, and the successful Tesco launch has allowed us to secure listings in more of the UK’s top four grocers, as well as the largest foodservice wholesalers,” VFC’s Commercial Director Stewart McGuckin said. “Expansion within the UK has been phenomenal, and we are also seeing strong international demand, particularly from the US.”

VFC’s plant-based chicken contains 14 to 15 grams of protein per 100 grams, making it one of the most impressive vegan proteins on the market. The products use a wheat-based protein coated in a southern fried cornflake mix to replicate the crunchy exterior of traditional fried chicken. The company also emphasizes that beyond its nutritional benefits, the VFC chicken is extremely environmentally and animal friendly.

“Our recent poll revealed that more than two-thirds of people would be willing to trade meat from animals for plant-based meat if it tasted as good. That’s very encouraging for our mission. Already, we’ve spared 60,000 birds but, as that is just the number of animals crammed inside two sheds, we have a long way to go,” Lyons explained. “Still, we have an incredibly driven team, all 100 percent committed to doing good in this world, and we are determined to play our part in ending the suffering of animals in factory farms.”

The figure is especially important as 57 percent of all food production-related greenhouse emissions come from animal farming. By saving more than 60,000 chickens, the plant-based company is significantly helping reduce dangerous emissions. VFC foods continue to push into the international food market, highlighting the sustainable and nutritional benefits of its plant-based alternative when compared to global chicken farming.

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