Woody Harrelson Just Helped This Vegan Food Brand Secure $20 Million
Brothers Chad and Darek Sarno are determined to make Wicked Kitchen a household name worldwide, and they're getting closer ti that goal every day. The vegan brand that sells ready-made meals, such as dairy-free pizzas, vegan ramen noodles, and soon lupini-bean-based ice ream, has caught the attention of celebrities like Woody Harrelson, who participated in the company's most recent investment round that raised an additional $20 million in new funding.
Major firms joined Harrelson in funding the popular vegan brand including sustainability investment firm Ahimsa VC and the leading food producer in Thailand NRPT. Harrelson notes that Wicked Kitchen caught his attention because the products are chef-inspired and created to prioritize flavor.
“I have known Chad and Derek for many years and have been impressed by their wicked creativity in the kitchen and that they are not afraid to push the boundaries,” Harrelson said in a statement. “What I love about this brand is that the products are actually created by chefs that always put flavor first, making it so easy to go plant-based."
The Sarno brothers founded Wicked KItchen in 2017 to provide consumers with culinary-inspired vegan classics that would be available for affordable prices. Originally, the duo launched the brand exclusively at Tesco stores in the United Kingdom, where Derek works as the Director of Plant-Based Innovation. However, the brand's increased funding has allowed the products to expand to several markets nationwide such as Finland, Thailand, and the United States.
Wicked Kitchen and Good Catch Unite
This funding round closely follows Wicked Kitchen's acquisition of the leading plant-based seafood brand Good Catch, founded by Chad Sarno in 2019. Now, the Wicked Kitchen product selection intends to expand into several plant-based seafood categories with the help of the additional funding and the recently acquired production capabilities of Good Catch.
Today, Wicked Kitchen's product portfolio will now include 120 plant-based products across several food categories worldwide. The Sarno brothers intend to keep expanding production efforts in current markets while making progress on facilitating deals in new countries. The company believes its expansive product selection gives it a broader appeal to consumers everywhere.
"Looking over the plant-based landscape, Wicked Kitchen stands out in the crowd not only because of our tremendous growth but also because of our variety across various supermarket departments," Pete Speranza, Wicked Kitchen CEO, said in a statement. "The fact that retailers are picking up multiple SKUs and some are even dedicating entire frozen door sets for our products is a testimony that they want to present customers a variety of options under a single flavor-forward, plant-based brand that has broader appeal."
Wicked Kitchen Expands Worldwide
Since entering the United States market last year, Wicked Kitchen's product distribution has expanded to over 6,500 retailers nationwide. By improving the brand's distribution range, the Sarno brothers aim to make plant-based eating more accessible to both plant-based and meat-eating consumers alike.
This January, Wicked Kitchen announced that its sales nearly doubled, a trend recorded by Tesco. The brand delivers a wide variety of vegan products, including vegan mayo, alternative deli meats, dressings, pre-made meals, instant noodle cups, and most recently a line of frozen desserts, designed to catch the attention of any sweet tooth's taste buds.
“During this high growth phase, it is validating to have support from additional investors who believe in our mission and in the future of plant-based foods,” Speranza said. “This latest round of funding will help us go faster to expand our offerings in the US and abroad and it puts us in a well-poised position as we continue to lead plant-based innovations with flavor-forward products that appeal to vegans and omnivores alike.”
Wicked Kitchen also teamed up with Support + Feed to help make Billie Eilish's Happier Than Ever tour the most plant-based music event ever. Coinciding with the concert, Wicked Kitchen helped provide vegan meals to concertgoers that took "The Pledge" – a promise to eat one plant-based meal a day for 30 days.
Woody Harrelson’s Vegan World
For approximately 30 years, Harrelson has followed a vegan diet and consistently promotes the benefits of plant-based eating for his fans and his coworkers. This March, Stranger Things star Sadie Sink revealed that Harrelson inspired her to adopt a vegan diet while filming The Glass Castle.
This October, Harrelson invested in the Series A funding round of plant-based meat company Abbot's Butcher along with his long-time friend Owen Wilson. Harrelson also became one of Good Catch's original celebrity investors along with Shailene Woodley, Lance Bass, and Paris Hilton long before its acquisition by Wicked Kitchen.
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