NETHERLANDS – Willicroft, a Dutch plant-based cheese start-up has secured a €2million (US$2.11 million) in a seed investment round to fuel its growth into new markets such as the UK, Germany, and the Nordics.
The pre-seed round was led by the global early-stage investor, Rockstart, Paulig’s venture arm PINC, Döhler, and Feast Ventures.
The startup is planning to use the funds in R&D so that it can combine old-age techniques with high-quality plant-based in, such as beans and pulses, creating alternatives that are as good for consumers as they are for the environment.
Willicroft says that consumers have become increasingly aware of food’s environmental footprint but the emissions of cheese are often overlooked making it become 3rd largest emitting product after beef and lamb.
The startup wants to address this emission by producing planet-proof, plant-based alternatives that are just as tasty.
According to the startup, their new bean-based range produces up to 5 times less CO2 than the dairy alternatives it’s replacing offering solutions to tackle major changes in the food system.
Brad Vanstone, the CEO, of Willicroft, explained: “With this new raise locked in we’ll be bringing our delicious, beautifully branded range of PBCs to 3 new markets: the UK, Germany, and the Nordics.”
We bring in senior hires and continue on our quest to become the world’s first net-positive plant-based cheese company. Our new investor group can help open up a number of new markets whilst also fast-tracking our products’ continued evolution.”
The startup is joining the plant-based whirlwind of change at a pivotal time when Fact.MR research says demand for plant-based cheese is anticipated to augment at a CAGR of 15.5% from 2021 to 2031, representing a fourfold increase, which will eventually reach US$3.9 billion by 2031.
Shifting customer tastes for low fat, low sugar, and lactose-free goods are paving the way for plant-based products such as cheese, raising demand for plant-based products.
Furthermore, several regulatory agencies are strongly advising consumers to use plant-based cheese to beat lactose intolerance and milk allergy which is popularizing the rise of ‘vegan’ lifestyles.
Willicroft is the first plant-based cheese company to become BCorp in Europe which has enabled It to spin out of a UK-based dairy farm taking plant-based and planet-proof cheese to the European masses.
Meanwhile, the AgriFood fund is Rockstart’s first fund launched in 2019 at €22million (US$23.22 million) making investments in 34 startups since its launch. These investments have made Rockstart become an active AgriFood investor in the world.
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