Woody Harrelson among investors in fast-growing 100% plant-based CPG company as it continues global expansion of products, retail distribution points
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As it continues unprecedented company growth to meet the demand for more flavorful plant-based foods, Wicked Kitchen announces today it has raised $20 million in additional funding, while more than tripling its year-over-year sales growth of 100% animal-free products.
New investors include actor and vegan advocate, Woody Harrelson, Ahimsa VC, a fund that invests in startups building a sustainable, humane and healthy world, and NRPT, Thailand’s leading food producer and innovator. The funds will help the global consumer packaged goods company founded by chefs and brothers Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno further ramp up global brand awareness initiatives and expand retail distribution and other channels to include food service.
“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,” said Woody Harrelson, actor and investor in Wicked Kitchen. “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 100% animal-free CPG company is on a mission to improve the lives of humans and animals by inspiring the world to eat more plants. Products are currently in more than 6,500 retail stores across the U.S., just one year after introducing the brand to the U.S. marketplace.
“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,” said Pete Speranza, CEO, Wicked Kitchen. “This latest round of funding will help us go faster to expand our offerings in the U.S 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.”
Slightly more than 1-in-5 U.S. consumers are looking to reduce the amount of meat they consume – a 15% increase from last year, according to Datassential’s 2022 “Plant-Forward Opportunity” report. Wicked Kitchen’s wide variety of frozen and shelf-stable, chef-driven animal-free foods including noodle cups, sauces, frozen entrees, pizzas, meal kits, and ice creams offer the country’s largest selection of 100% plant-based foods under a single brand providing fresh, new offerings for consumers.
Key milestones since its launch in the U.S. last year include:
- Acquiring Good Catch, the premier plant-based seafood brand, expanding the company’s multi-category offerings to frozen and ambient seafood products and enhancing Wicked Kitchen’s expansive portfolio of meal solutions and ingredients.
- Offering new frozen food items to its U.S. product lineup, including award-winning ice creams starring the lupini bean as well as artisanal pizzas and frozen entrees with global flavors.
- Launching more than 38 products at Kroger and Sprouts Farmers Market, reaching consumers at more than 2,500 stores at these two retailers alone.
- Adding 32 products, the largest variety of plant-based items from one brand at one single retailer to date at 180 Giant Food stores in five states in Eastern U.S.
- Launching Wicked Kitchen sauces in more than 1,200 Publix stores across the Southeastern U.S.
- Adding quick and convenient noodle cups to 2,000 7-Eleven stores.
- Distribution into 1,250 Wal-Mart stores.
- Developed a strategy and pipeline to supply the food service sector in the U.S. and U.K.
- Provided 100,000 plant-based meals to help stamp out food insecurity in key markets in the U.S. through, Support + Feed, as the non-profit’s exclusive TAKE THE PLEDGE Sponsor.
“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,” said Speranza. “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.”
In addition to expanding its footprint and offerings in the U.S., the brand launched 23 products in Finland’s leading grocery retailer, S-Market, and, next month, it will introduce 17 products into Thailand’s largest retailers, Tops Market and Central Food Halls.
Today through Saturday, Wicked Kitchen will be participating at Natural Products EXPO East at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 – booth #1139.
Downloadable images available here.
Created by chefs and brothers Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno, Wicked Kitchen is on a mission to improve the lives of humans and animals globally by inspiring the world to eat more plants. The Sarno brothers have created a pioneering, chef-driven range of delicious 100% animal-free foods that unleash the power of vegetables. Additionally, they showcase hundreds of recipes and innovative cooking techniques to make it easy to cook delicious plant-based meals on The Wicked Kitchen YouTube channel and in several published cookbooks. Wicked Kitchen provides convenient meal solutions across multiple supermarket departments, available at Kroger stores and its banners including City Market, Dillons, Foods Co, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Gerbes, Jay C Food Store, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Pay-Less Super Markets, Pick’n Save, QFC, Ralphs, Ruler and Smith’s Food and Drug. They are also available at Sprouts Farmers Market, Publix, 7-Eleven, Lazy Acres, Giant Food Stores and Wal-Mart. Wicked Kitchen also owns Good Catch, a consumer packaged goods company offering the taste, texture, and eating experience of seafood without harming the environment and sea life. For more information, visit WickedKitchen.com. For ongoing news and updates, follow Wicked Kitchen on Facebook and Instagram.
SOURCE Wicked Kitchen