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Planet First Partners invests £20m in plant-based meat producer THIS

Published: 18 June 2024

The UK-based sustainable growth equity investment platform focuses on scaling companies that directly contribute to the climate transition.

The team at THIS, which is currently the third-biggest alternative meat producer in the UK | Photo provided Planet First Partners

Planet First Partners has invested £20m (€23.6m) in plant-based food company THIS through a combination of primary and secondary equity financing. The investment will allow the UK-based company to speed up growth through the launch of new products.

In the past five years, THIS has raised around £35m from institutional and crowdfunding investors, including BGF, ECG Research, UK broadcaster ITV and former England footballer Chris Smalling. It posted revenue growth of close to 50% last year, making it the third-biggest alternative meat producer in the UK.

THIS is “a commercially mature disruptor in the alternative meat category”, Frédéric de Mévius, executive chairman of Planet First Partners, told Impact Investor.

“We were particularly impressed with its strong brand and its performance versus its rivals on the most important customer purchase criteria, which is taste,” he said.

In addition, THIS has “demonstrated its scalability potential through key value levers such as a pipeline of new product launches and established relationships with the top six UK supermarkets”, de Mévius said.


De Mévius, who prior to Planet First Partners founded Verlinvest, an investment vehicle best known for building brands such as Oatly and Vita Coco, said he was “personally excited”, to put his vast experience as a consumer investor “behind a sustainable brand that is totally aligned with our fund’s sustainability objectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

De Mévius further said he was backing THIS because of its new and highly experienced CEO, Mark Cuddigan, who used to head up UK-based organic food brand Ella’s Kitchen.

Planet First Partners said it will take two seats on the board of THIS.

“Our partnership will be key as we continue to lead a revolution through our plant-based food to protect animals and the environment, growing brand love to become market leaders in the UK,” said Cuddigan, CEO of THIS.

The company said it has been able to improve its gross margins every quarter partly by streamlining its operations, reducing its production sites down to three, from 17 previously.

Article 9 fund

Founded in 2020, Luxembourg and London-based Planet First Partners manages an Article 9 fund focused on investment opportunities in startups that maximise social, economic and societal returns and are capable of contributing to the climate transition.

As previously reported by Impact Investor, last year the fund closed its second funding round after raising €450m. That round, which raised €100m over its original target, was led by Ingka Group, the holding company and largest franchisee of IKEA retail stores. Other investors included large family offices from Europe, Asia, South America and an undisclosed large Belgian financial institution.  

De Mévius told Impact Investor the platform has made five investments since last year’s fundraising and plans to have “a concentrated portfolio focusing on companies where we can be a true value-add”.  

Portfolio companies include sustainable investment fund Eka Ventures, material innovator Nanogence and FINN, a car subscription company. Its investment in THIS is the platform’s first commitment to sustainable agriculture and food systems.

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