Vegan food and drink is a booming business in Yorkshire

From Leeds to Bubwith to Ossett and Bedale, there are a plethora of herbal companies entering this rapidly growing industry.

Yorkshire herbal brands such as Meatless Farm, Mighty, Over the Spoon, Northern Bloc, Plant and Bean, VFC and Heck are making significant investments in the region. They have raised millions of pounds in investment – a boost for business and a boost for Yorkshire’s economy.

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Herbal promoters say this is great news for Yorkshire and its relatively new but rapidly growing brands.

Mighty was founded by Yorkshire brothers Tom and Nick Watkins

Part of the investment comes from the increased demand for food and drink during the pandemic. It was one of the few luxuries we had during the lockdown, as interest in home cooking skyrocketed and interest in plant-based foods nearly doubled.

It was a major driver of a £ 1.3million investment for the dairy-free dessert brand, Over the Spoon.

Over the Spoon UK Managing Director Tim Wild said: “The frozen dessert category without fresh produce is growing by 25% year over year.

“Attracting dairy consumers is essential to develop the category. We are changing our brand to expand our appeal beyond dairy-free and vegan audiences. “

Plant-based meat substitute brand Meatless Farm has raised significant investments since launching in 2018, including its recent round of crowdfunding.

It has also expanded its product line and, like Over the Spoon, operates in markets beyond the UK, bringing a slice of the Yorkshire pie to other countries.

Plant-based milk brand Mighty was awarded £ 4.5million as part of its European expansion and to launch the next generation of MLKology plant-based milk in the UK in January.

The companies insist the overseas move hasn’t taken these brands away from their Yorkshire roots.

Investing in state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at their Yorkshire bases is a testament to the companies’ commitment to stay in the region which has helped

Michael Hunter, UK Managing Director of Meatless Farm, said: “Yorkshire is where Meatless Farm started.

“We are proud to have become a global brand from our Leeds office. It’s a great place to work and we see Yorkshire as a leader in the herbal revolution. “

Yorkshire’s booming plant industry is also boosting employment in the county.

This business hub shows that the North has all the capabilities of the South to bring fun, creative and innovative brands to the heart of a vibrant county.

This gives the younger ones a reason to stay in the North rather than losing talent to London. Additionally, the expansion of these brands creates roles for many people – from cleaning staff to manufacturing staff to executive level.

At a recent green careers event hosted by Leeds City Council, Mighty’s co-founder Nick Watkins shared his personal journey to a “green” career.

He said: “Having a career that helps rather than harms the environment doesn’t necessarily sound like what you would expect.

“It was great to be part of an event showcasing the opportunities to work in the plant industry for young Yorkshires. It’s a whole new industry for people to get meaningful and rewarding jobs while giving back to the county economy.

Mighty, Meatless Farm and Over the Spoon employ over 200 people in Yorkshire and the growth of the herbal industry has the potential to create hundreds more jobs in the future.

Plant-based foods tend to have a much smaller environmental footprint, so they can also help Yorkshires with their green credentials, both for business and for people.

Meatless Farm research by Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore found that replacing one meat meal per week with a plant-based meal saves 8.4% emissions .

The vegetarian and plant-based food and drink market is currently worth over £ 1 billion in the UK. There are 22 million flexitarians – people who still eat meat but eat less regularly – and over half a million vegans in the UK.

Meatless products have almost doubled in the past six years and the UK accounts for 15 percent of all plant-based milk sales in Europe.

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