Romanian-founded Verdino Green Foods, a plant-based meat alternatives (PBM) company with an increasing presence in Central and Eastern Europe, raised growth equity to accelerate its growth in the local market and support international expansion. BlackPeak Capital provided the funds through its SEE Growth Equity Fund, becoming a minority shareholder in the company. In the next five years, Verdino aims to increase its revenues to €100M.
Developing an award-winning product range in two years
Verdino Green Foods was launched in 2019 by two seasoned executives from the food and beverage sector, Raul Ciurtin and Eberhart Raducanu (CEO). Despite being in the market for only two years, Verdino already developed 60 plant-based meat alternative products, using mainly pea protein.
Products range from burgers to cold cuts, mince, and hot dogs, and also includes coconut oil cheese, pizzas, and various specialties. The company’s products have been recognized for their taste, winning in two categories at the World Plant-Based Taste Awards.
The company’s quick expansion across multiple European countries speaks of the growing interest in plant-based meat alternatives. Currently, Verdino is listed in 2000 grocery stores across Romania, North Macedonia, and Serbia, as well as Switzerland, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. It has also signed distribution agreements with 12 other countries.
“PBM products are increasingly becoming a larger niche in the food industry. We strongly believe in the continued growth of this sector, with Verdino having the potential to become a market leader in Europe. We are also happy that our first deal for our new Fund is in Romania as it underscores our commitment to support innovative Romanian SMEs in their international expansion,” Niklas Pichler, Managing Partner at BlackPeak announced.
With the new capital, the company wants to establish its position as the most affordable, yet high-quality, plant-based meat brand in Europe.
Climate stakes are high for promoting plant-based meat alternatives
As the much-expected COP26 unfolds, it has sparked discussions around the food choices of delegates: is sustainability also on the menu? According to The Guardian, the COP26 menu includes plant-based and locally-sourced dishes and shows the carbon footprint estimate of each item, helping its participants make environmentally-mindful choices.
Nonetheless, The Good Food Institute (GFI), a global non-profit organization promoting alternative protein innovation argues food and agriculture are underrepresented at COP26.
Plant-based meat alternatives use up 95% less land than conventional animal agriculture, GFI says. Plant-based foods further generate only half of the emissions of animal-based products, according to a study by Nature Food.
Yet Science shows that without cutting fossil fuel emissions from the global food system, limiting global warming to 1.5°C – the apparent goal of COP26 – becomes impossible, and even the 2°C target remains difficult.
On the bright side, the European plant-based food industry saw a 49% increase in sales growth between 2018 and 2020 to €3.6 billion.
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