Wicked Kitchen, the plant-based food brand founded by chef brothers Chad and Derek Sarno, has secured an investment of $20 million to further grow the company.
Vegan actor Woody Harrelson participated in the funding round; he said that his relationship with the founding brothers played a role in his decision.
“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,” Harrelson said in a statement.
The Texan native has worked with the Sarnos on previous Wicked Kitchen-related projects, including a vegan cookbook and their docuseries Wicked Healthy World.
“This latest round of funding will help us go faster to expand our offerings in the US and abroad,” Pete Speranza, Wicked Kitchen CEO, said in a company release.
“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,” Speranza added.
Building a vegan empire
Initially, Wicked Kitchen launched exclusively with the UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco. The brand has more recently found presence in the US and across Europe. Meaningful discussions about launching in Thailand are also in progress.
Strategic acquisitions have allowed the Sarno brothers to combine their interests of food and business. This was seen in September, when Wicked Kitchen announced its purchase of vegan seafood and fellow Sarno-founded company Good Catch.
The brothers launched Good Catch in 2019 to disrupt the conventional seafood sector. Since then, it has gained space in frozen and ambient displays in grocery chains across the US and Canada. It has also been used by fast-food chains including Next Level Burger and Long John Silver’s.
With an established presence in Asia, Good Catch gives Wicked Kitchen access to a fast-growing plant-based sector, which has demonstrated year-on-year growth in demand for meat alternatives. This will further support the ambitious international expansion plans that last year’s $14 million raise funded.
Woody Harrelson: vegan investor
Harrelson has been vegan for more than 30 years. He’s been known to encourage his co-stars, including Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink, to turn plant-based, and has now invested in multiple vegan brands. These include Good Catch — prior to its recent sale — and Abbot’s Butcher, a premium alternative meat brand, which also gained backing from actor Owen Wilson.
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