Channel 4 has invested a seven-figure sum in Leeds-based vegetarian start-up The Meatless Farm Co in a deal that will see the broadcaster give the fledgling company advertising airtime across Channel 4 and its All 4 streaming service.
The partnership means The Meatless Farm Co will be able to afford to create a major TV campaign to run in the autumn, helping the business drive awareness and boost sales, which are currently focused on supply deals with Sainsbury's and Morrisons, as well as by Amazon's Whole Foods Market in the US.
The Meatless Farm Co was founded in 2016 by Morten Toft Bech, a 44-year-old Dane, after he and his family wanted to reduce their meat consumption but found that there was a dearth of appealing alternatives to lentils and beans. This led him to develop a range of plant-based products similar in taste and texture to meat. The range includes burgers, sausages and mince.
Toft Bech said that he selected Channel 4 as a partner because the broadcaster's values, as well as its audience, align with his own.
The investment is being made by Channel 4's Commercial Growth Fund. Vinay Solanki, head of the fund, said the "plant-based market is a huge growth area as people, particularly young people, are increasingly seeking plant-based alternatives to meat".
He added: "The Meatless Farm Co’s innovation and sustainability credentials are inspiring and we hope that, through advertising across our channel portfolio and reaching our valuable core 16-34 audience, we’ll help support their impact and growth journey."
Toft Bech said: "Our mission is to make it easy for people to reduce their red meat consumption by switching to plant-based meat alternatives. Making the swap, even if it’s just once a week, can make a huge difference to our planet. It’s the equivalent of taking 16 million cars off the road.
"To help people swap, we offer a range that allows you to enjoy your favourite meals without sacrificing on texture or taste. Channel 4 has always been at the forefront of social change and this investment is a pivotal moment in The Meatless Farm Co’s journey. Channel 4’s audience, and environmental and ethical values, align strongly with ours and we are very much looking forward to the future."