As a businesswoman with strong ties to the North East, Heather Mills is very clear on what she feels is its main strength. When she spoke to Bdaily, she enthusiastically praised the “hard-working, dedicated, loyal staff” that the region has to offer.
It makes sense then that she has chosen the North East as the location of a ‘plant-based valley’ development, as part of her vegan food company VBites, based at the former Coty and Procter & Gamble site in Northumberland village Seaton Delaval.
Heather shared her ambition for the site: “My plan with my team and our plant-based valley is to make the North East the capital of food and drink manufacturing in Britain.”
The ‘plant-based valley’, in addition to the anticipated opening of a VBites factory in Peterlee this summer, reflects Heather’s commitment to creating jobs and boosting the local economy in the North East.
Speaking about the new Peterlee factory, she explained: “My friend called me and said because of Brexit, factories were dropping like flies, so I wanted to do my bit to try and help this nightmare situation for everybody.
“I have now bought three factories in the North East and I am hoping the food industry supports British manufacturing in light of the situation we are currently in.”
For Heather, the region’s main challenges include a “lack of financial support for private family businesses compared to large corporates” and the task of “convincing people and supermarkets that they cannot have cheap products without consequences”.
Heather’s passion and personal motivation for supporting small business is apparent as she talks about VBites Ventures, an initiative to support local plant-based entrepreneurs, which she described as “the first plant-based incubation unit of its kind in the world”.
She explained: “My motivation to help small startups was to help them prevent and overcome the hurdles that I had suffered with no help in my early days of small business as a teenager.
“I felt one of the key things was to incubate them all under one roof not only to stop the feeling of isolation as a business owner, but to mentor, manufacture, distribute and help them sell into our distribution network covering 24 countries.”
As the popularity of plant-based food rises, it is clear that VBites, first established in 1993, has been ahead of the current trend for some time: “We have been pushing it as a community for years and years.”
Heather attributed the current trend of vegan products to the community’s long-time advocacy and activism, as well as “the huge sale of Quorn for £550m to the Philippine company Monde Nissen, Field Roast Vegan Sausage for £120m to [Canadian company Maple Leaf Foods] and dairy free Daiya cheese for £320m to [Japanese firm Otsuka]”.
VBites uses plant-based ingredients to create a range of vegan foods including burgers, sausages and pies.
According to Heather, this level of financial potential “is absolutely why the corporates have sat up, listened and jumped on the bandwagon.”
Heather’s views on adopting a plant-based lifestyle are unambiguous, and she is on a mission to spread the word: “My plan is to educate people – as I have been trying to do for 25 years – on the fact that you cannot support climate change without being vegan.
“Intensive farming – resulting in huge deforestation – to grow crops to feed cattle instead of people, is the primary cause of global warming three times more than all planes, trains and automobiles put together.
“Yet daily, people scream about climate change and head for a burger… we just need them to head for a Vbites vegan burger!”
With sustainability becoming increasingly important to consumers and companies, the plant-based revolution doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Heather’s message to companies resisting the tides of change on this topic was very simple: “Get with the program and get ahead of the curve.”
Founded in 1993 by Heather Mills, the popular plant-based food brand VBites, has revealed recently that it will be adding 10 new vegan-friendly cheeses to their already expansive range of meat and dairy-free products.
The announcement came back in April, soon after the company detailed on their website that they had purchased a 385,000sq foot factory to aid with product expansion. Mills comments: “This recent purchase of a factory that has been sitting empty for nearly 2 years will mean it will bring more jobs to the region and we can incubate all of our VBITES Ventures investments to help them scale up, manufacture, distribute and sell in 24 countries around the world. I am hoping that the supermarkets and food service industry will support British manufacturing in these difficult times and Britain can unite to become a booming country in the food and beverage sector.”
The new range will be launched under the VBites cheese brand, Cheezly, however, Morrisons is already stocking one of the VBites’ cheese blocks under its Free From range.
The full product list includes an Edam, Pepperjack, Red Cheddar, White Cheddar, Hard Italian, and Mozzarella which are currently available on the VBites website. Holland and Barrett stores will also soon be stocking the new releases.
Vegan entrepreneur, athlete, and VBites owner Heather Mills has announced she is buying a second enormous factory in the North East – and will be creating a ‘plant-based valley’ in the UK.
According to Mills, the former Procter & Gamble factory in Seaton Delavel, Newcastle is 385,000 sq foot. Once the sale goes through, she plans to use the facility to manufacture vegan products including food and cosmetics.
The space will also be used as an incubator for the plant-based startups Mills has invested in, including LoveSeitan and One Planet Pizza, so the companies can scale-up production.
Kale United Founder and CEO Måns Ullerstam and VBites CEO Heather Mills partner to relaunch and revitalise Sweden’s first and most well-known vegan brand
Stockholm, Sweden, 11 June, 2019: Plant-based company Kale United AB (Kale United) is delighted to today announce its joint investment in Sweden’s most well-established vegan food brand Astrid Och Aporna. The investment is taking place in partnership with VBites, the largest supplier to Astrid Och Aporna.
Founded in 2006, Astrid Och Aporna is a well-known vegan food brand in Scandinavian markets, celebrated for its tasty and innovative products. The Astrid Och Aporna brand will not change, and new products are planned to come to shelves soon, including a new range of vegan cheese.
VBites Founder and CEO Heather Mills said: “Astrid Och Aporna was one of the earliest 100% vegan meat, fish and dairy free brands in Scandinavia, it’s food supplied and developed by us at VBites and driven by its enthusiastic team for over a decade. It would be a shame to not help this innovative company keep its strong hold in the market with the best tasting and largest variety of meat fish and dairy free alternatives in the country.”
Kale United founder Måns Ullerstam said: “It is exciting for us to be announcing the relaunch of Astrid Och Aporna with VBites. Heather has been instrumental in defining and growing the vegan food category in Scandinavian supermarkets for over a decade now, and her support and partnership as we revitalise Astrid Och Aporna is critical to our future success.
By partnering with Heather and VBites to resurrect the iconic vegan Astrid Och Aporna brand, we plan to meet strong demand for vegan products by making existing and new products more widely available than ever before. In fact, Astrid Och Aporna products have already returned to selected stores, and we plan to relaunch in all major supermarkets in Scandinavia, as well as in restaurants, the wider catering industries and in hotels in the near future.
The relaunch of Astrid Och Aporna is a perfect fit with Kale United’s strategy to harness its local expertise and international reach, helping global plant-based companies to enter Scandinavia and to support Scandinavian companies as they grow globally.
I’d like to thank Heather and the VBites team, as well as the wider team at Astrid Och Aporna for their support in helping bring this deal to reality.” ENDS
About VBites CEO Heather Mills Following a life-changing accident in 1993, Heather has now been vegan for 26 years. Motivated by the lack of choice available, Heather started developing meat, fish and dairy free alternatives that actually tasted great. Initially starting with soy protein, Heather and the VBites team have expanded to work with pea protein, as well as algal oils, developing over 140 exact replications of meat, fish and dairy alternative products for parallel eating.
VBites is now one of the biggest plant based companies in the world and has won over 80 awards. Heather is committed to driving the transition to a plant-based world, and her activism has included donating US$ 1 million to improving the health and nutrition of the residents of the then poverty stricken area of the Bronx, New York, over a decade ago.
About Kale United Kale United is a Swedish company creating a global ecosystem for plant-based businesses to flourish. Launched in 2018 and backed by a successful crowdfunding round, the mission is to increase the global availability and awareness of plant-based products.
Kale United provides its member companies with services that help them grow, and become a long-term stakeholder in selected businesses. Kale United believes in strong partnerships with organisations that match its ethical and sustainable ethos. Website: www.kaleunited.com Social Media: Twitter @mansullerstam LinkedIn kaleunited Facebook @kaleunited
About Måns Ullerstam Måns is a successful entrepreneur and experienced investor. For his latest venture, Resolution Games, he raised US$6 million from prominent investors such as Google Ventures. As well as corporate roles heading US$100 million Swedish telco Rebtel, he also founded Neutral World: a carbon footprint comparison shopping site. Launched in 2018 backed by a successful crowdfunding campaign, Kale United is a project close to Måns’ heart, aligning with his personal ethics and vision for a more sustainable, ethical future. Vegan since 2015, Måns is passionate about supporting and investing in the plant-based movement. Måns is also a Climate Leader, trained by the former Vice President Al Gore as part of his non-profit organisation, Climate Reality. Press Enquiries: Helen Wright (0044) 07842729579 Rooted@plantbasedpr.com
We are extremely proud to
announce our new #Cheezly is available now after receiving great feedback.
based cheeses are 100% vegan, dairy free and allergen free and made in a 100%
British plant-based factory.
The only really
stringy super melting British cheese. Support 100% plant-based British
VBites has launched its new
amazing coconut based cheeses and they are now available to buy online.
Consisting of 7 flavours:
Pepperjack Cheezly, Edam Style Cheezly, White Cheezly, Red Cheezly, Blue
Cheezly, Hard Italian Style Cheezly and Mozzarella Style Cheezly, plus 3 super melting
cheesesof Red Cheezly, Mature Cheezly
and Mozzarella StyleCheezly which are great for pizzas. The super melting
currently being used by One
Planet Pizza and Goodfella’s pizzas and is about to be launched by leading high
street supermarket chains.
You can order online ahead of the rush at:
VBites are passionate about
being one the leading pioneers of plant-based foods, creating innovative
products that are better for animals and the environment.
Award winning plant based food manufacturing giant, VBites, are proud to be supplying WeCan Foods with their Mini Lincolnshire Style Sausages and Mini Burger / Meatball Style bites. WeCan foods are the suppliers of Suma wholefoods who distribute to a vast selection of independent stores, including supermarket giant, Co-op Food.
VBites Mini Lincolnshire Sausages are sold as a Suma canned product labelled as: ‘Suma baked beans in a rich tomato sauce with Lincolnshire Style sausages, meat free’
Heather Mills, founder of VBites Foods said: “As a kid from a working class family we loved sausage and beans but only had enough money to buy in a tin.,so one of my fantasies was to have vegan sausage and beans and we at VBites are now doing that with Suma foods in a can as well as meatballs in a can to throw in spaghetti, it’s great when I’m on the road as I can even eat them cold out the can “
The VBites Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of plantbased, meat, fish and dairy free, vegan substitutes. VBites, who have won over 80 awards, have 140 products in their range and export to 24 countries worldwide.
To contact VBites about sales, products and distribution, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to be collaborating with One Planet Pizza to support them creating incredible tasting pizzas with our delicious VBites cheezly through our collaboration with VBites Ventures.
One Planet Pizza has been making their classic range of vegan frozen pizzas for just over 2 years and are already available in over 450 shops across the UK and mainland Europe, as well as winning various industry awards. Run by father and son team Mike and Joe Hill, it was the first vegan company to equity crowdfund in the UK, and has over 100 micro investors, many of them veggie or vegan.
Heather Mills said “This is another really exciting investment for me, and my team at VBites Ventures as we are looking to help leading plant-based business to grow quickly and meet the massive demand that is now present in the market. One Planet are a classic example of that, they have established themselves as a leading vegan pizza company in the UK already and I now believe I can help them become one of the best in the world.”
“We need to expand our production very quickly in order to meet the increasing demand for our pizzas, including a February launch on Ocado, and to launch some exciting new products. We will be using VBites 100% plant-based manufacturing facilities to help scale their production and increase their distribution nationwide and internationally. We are also looking forward to using VBites new melty “cheese” as well as some of their other award-winning products on our pizzas, as well as working closing with the other VBites Ventures companies.” – One Planet Pizza
Heather was invited by Janez Potocnik, chairman of FFA, Forum For Agriculture, 2019 to be a Keynote speaker in Brussels, Belgium – The Next Generation event on the 9th of April 2019. Heather’s 30 minute speech discussed VBites Foods, veganism and the future of plant based foods in the agriculture industry. The audience included people from the European Parliament, Council and Commission, Businesses, institutes and NGOs. This important event combined agriculture and environment, enabling open dialogue to create sustainable solutions.
Heather’s speech started at 2pm (GMT) and lasted 30 minutes, following on with an interactive Q&A with the audience, hosted by Femi Oke.
“My key role in life is problem-solving unsolvable things that people think are problematic, but there are simple solutions. We had the answers 25 years ago, let’s not be here in the next 10 years in the same situation and lets minimise the devastation on the marine eco system.”
Heather concluded that:
“The simple solution for solving a number of issues is that every single person goes vegan.”
Information from FFA 2019:
“The Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) is where agriculture and environment meet for an open dialogue. Each year, luminaries from various leading international institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament, the food/farming chain, NGOs, and businesses from every sector present their diverse views to a packed auditorium.”
Chairman of FFA, Janez Potočnik said:
“It was great meeting you, dear Heather, and thank you for all your work and eye opening contribution to the FFA.”
“Forum for the future of agriculture (FFA) was this year devoted to the next generation. I feel profoundly moved and encouraged by their active engagement to protect their future. It is the right time for those in power to hear the echo of the streets and the voice of frustrated young generation. Heather was in her provocative, but honest address offering us an alternative for a healthier and more sustainable life. By practicing it through VBites she is proving that it is also economically viable and attractive. An important message to the current and the next generation.”
“I have been a keynote motivational speaker around the world for over 25 years, The fast Forward forum was the first event where I came away feeling enlightened, inspired and educated by my eclectic esteemed colleagues.”
”This is what this audience & policymakers need to hear: the future of food is plant-based”
“Vegan diet the best says Heather Mills at #FFA2019. Only a handful of vegans in the room. Hundreds of meat-eaters. Good audience to hear this.”
“So refreshing to hear Heather Mills speaking at FFA 2019 about shifting diets and agriculture to vegan future. The growth of plant-based market is an opportunity for farmers not a threat and governments should assist animal farmers to transition their production to plant crops”
Heather wrote an article for FFA titled discussing why she switched to a plant-based diet and how it led to her creating the innovative products with VBites Foods :
“When I became a vegan over 25 years ago, I was like most people, ignorant of the harm I was doing to myself, the animals and the planet. Until more recently it seems the majority of people became vegan because of one of these reasons. Mine was health.”
“This motivated me to start to develop meat, fish and dairy free alternatives that actually tasted great. Initially I started with soy protein as this was readily available and a complete amino acid, but as time passed I started to work with pea protein combined with oat, then algal oils, thinking this could be grown in Europe by farmers to move them away from the heavily subsidised dairy industry. From these varieties of proteins my team and I developed over 130 exact replication of meat, fish and dairy alternate products for parallel eating.” – Heather Mills
“Now the cat is out of the bag, we are pleased to announce that, yes, we have purchased the 385,000 ft.² ex Coty/Procter & Gamble factory in Seaton Delavel, Newcastle.”
“This is now my third factory purchase in the north-east to help bring more employment and expand the plant-based meat, fish and allergen free dairy alternative industry as well as micro algae and vegan make up. This recent purchase of a factory that has been sitting empty for nearly 2 years will mean it will bring more jobs to the region and we can incubate all of our VBITES Ventures investments to help them scale up, manufacture, distribute and sell in 24 countries around the world. I am hoping that the supermarkets and food service industry will support British manufacturing in these difficult times and Britain can unite to become a booming country in the food and beverage sector.
I hope you will all support us in buying VBITES products to create a more sustainable future and support growth. I would like to thank the local MP Ronnie Campbell for helping facilitate and support us in this purchase as well as Lisa Harwood and Coty’s Luc Volatier. – Heather Mills
“But it is understood that that Ms Mills has been selected as the preferred bidder for the manufacturing facility, paving the way for further expansion of her growing vegan food firm VBites.” – Chronicle Live
VBites were at the International Food and Drink event 17th – 20th March 2019, showcasing the innovative plant-based products to thousands of visitors alongside some of the VBites Ventures. Our founder Heather Mills gave a panel discussion about the future of plant-based foods.
The feedback from visitors were great and people enjoyed the incredible taste of the new plant-based meats and cheese that were on offer. 1350 other food and drink exhibitors were on display across the Excel Centre in London and it was great to see.
VBites founder Heather Mills was invited to be on the panel discussing the future of plant-based food and VBites Foods. The feedback from visitors was great and people enjoyed the incredible taste of the new plant-based meats and cheese that were on offer. This panel discussion titled ‘The Role of Protein in Plant Based Product Innovation’ covered the diverse market alongside Robert Woodall, Carole Bingley and Tiia Morsky. This exciting panel discussion took place between 1:30pm and 2:15 on the 17th of March 2019 and people asked questions about the future of plant-based foods.
Visitors enjoyed the taste of VBites new plant-based meats and cheese that were on offer and Heather was involved in a panel discussion by the Northern Powerhouse with VBites tasters.
“Thank you to
everyone who joined us at the Northern Powerhouse Showcase event at IFE19 and
to our panel, Heather and Chris.” – Suzie
Heather Mills speaking passionately on all things food, vegan and more.” –
“Had a great time today
on stage at IFE London hosting and providing canapés for northern powerhouse.
Big thank you to Heather for joining me on stage and encapsulating what great
northern business and food & drink is about!” – Chris Hale
Heather and VBites were
alongside 1350 other food and drink exhibitors and it was great to see so many
innovative brands within the plant-based market.
We are excited to announce that our VBites cheese will be used on the new Goodfella’s pizza launching in a few weeks! The new Spicy Vegetable Salsa pizza will cost £2.50 and be available in supermarkets across the UK. The toppings of this tasty pizza will consist of sweetcorn, black beans, red onion, salsa drizzle, red and green peppers, tomato sauce and a spiced crumb.
In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living the Brand Manager at Goodfella’s Alex Brown said: “We have partnered with V bites on the Vegan cheese, and we are very pleased by the final result. We knew that our next Vegan extension needed to have Vegan cheese on it, to ensure we were appealing to the ever-growing Vegan shopper. However, we also wanted to add spice and exciting ingredients onto this product, which we hope we have achieved.”
It has been amazing to see the increased demand for plant-based foods across the UK and we are proud to be part of such a positive movement. We can’t wait to hear feedback!
A new study in 2019 QY Research predicts that the plant-based food market is going to continue expanding between 2019-2025 and includes detailed report analysed data from the plant-based market between 2014-2018 and suggests that the market will continue to expand during the forecast.
The report featured VBites as one of the top brands leading innovation in this field and includes information including opportunities, challenges, distributors and future trends.
We started VBites in 1993 with a vision to create delicious plant-based foods that are better for the environment, animals and human health we are proud to be part of such a passionate and growing movement.
The study objectives of this report are: – To study and analyze the global Vegan Meat market size (value & volume) by company, key regions, products and end user, breakdown data from 2014 to 2018, and forecast to 2025. – To share detailed information about the key factors influencing the growth of the market (growth potential, opportunities, drivers, industry-specific challenges and risks). – To project the value and sales volume of Vegan Meat submarkets, with respect to key regions.