Plant-based meat brand THIS has secured up to £4 million of investment in advertising inventory from UK broadcaster ITV.
THIS will be able to advertise across ITV’s channels and streaming service, ITVX, in exchange for ITV gaining a minority equity stake in the company.
The deal marks the first time ITV has invested in a food company. ITV is the main competitor to the BBC, while ITVX has 10.5 million active users, giving THIS visibility to huge numbers of people. “[T]he scale of the investment means that we can reach audiences across the country and get closer to making meat-free the norm,” said Andy Shovel, co-founder and co-CEO of THIS.
“We expect consumer demand for conscious consumption to continue to grow,” said Sheena Amin, Director of ITV AdVentures. “THIS is the perfect brand to help make conscious eating accessible to all. With such a distinctive brand personality, I am confident that THIS’ upcoming TV campaign will stand out from the crowd and help the brand become a worthy household name.”
Rapid growth, low impact
THIS has been named the fastest growing food brand in the UK after posting two-year annual compound sales growth of 246 percent. It is now the largest independently owned brand in the sector.
With a range of “ready to cook” options, frozen products, and ready meals available, THIS is now stocked at dozens of retailers and restaurants in the UK. Two weeks ago it also announced that it’s now available in 430 branches of Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. In the Netherlands, plant-based alternatives are now cheaper than meat from animals.
While the brand grows in popularity, its impact on the climate remains significantly lower than meat. According to data from My Emissions, a carbon calculator for food companies, THIS products on average emit half as much carbon as chicken, less than a third as much as pork, and around a tenth of that emitted by beef.
THIS also estimates it has saved approximately a million animals from being eaten, based on the protein yielded per animal compared to sales of THIS products.
Veganism on the rise
The global plant-based meat market reached a value of USD $4.40 billion in 2022 and is expected to keep growing. The UK is a hub of growth in this area. It has the second-largest share of people eating plant-based in Europe after Germany. The UK also has the highest sales value of plant-based meat in Europe.