Reading Time: 2 minutes An aerial photo of the major facility - and VBites fishless fish (Photo: VBites)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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.

Vegan factories

This purchase follows Mills buying the former 180,000 sq foot Walkers Crisps factory in Peterlee in November last year.

She hopes to eventually hire around 300 workers for the facility – welcome news for the area after 350 jobs were lost when the factory was shut by previous owners PepsiCo in 2017.

She has already hired a number of staff from Walkers including the former Walkers’ factory manager who was now the new factory manager for VBites.

‘Incredibly excited’

“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 microalgae and vegan make up,” Mills said in a statement.

“This recent purchase of a factory that has been sitting empty for nearly two 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 foodservice industry will support British manufacturing in these difficult times and Britain can unite to become a booming country in the food and beverage sector.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.