Bridges Ventures invests in Vegetarian Express

The Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III (“SGF III”), managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”), has announced its investment in Vegetarian Express, a specialist supplier of plant-based food ingredients. BCMS acted as lead advisor to the shareholders of Vegetarian Express.

Bridges invested £5.6m to take a controlling interest in Vegetarian Express in 2016. It will work in partnership with current shareholders David Jonas (founder of the business in 1987) and Will Matier, both of whom will remain actively involved with the business. In addition, Tim Kelly, former COO of Premier Foods, joins Vegetarian Express as Executive Chairman.

“BCMS had the right infrastructure, the right knowledge and experience in the marketplace” – David Jonas, Vegetarian Express

Based in Watford, Vegetarian Express is the UK’s leading supplier of specialist plant-based ingredients, with an unmatched range of over 1,000 products (including tofu, tempeh, quinoa, nuts, spices, and pulses) and unrivalled sourcing capabilities. It has a strong service culture, working closely with chefs to develop new menu ideas and its ingredients are already consumed across 2,500 catering locations in the UK used by over 1 million diners.

Bridges’ investment provides additional capital and support to accelerate Vegetarian Express’ growth plans, to distribute a broader range of ingredients to existing foodservice sites more frequently, while also opening up delivery routes to new customers throughout the UK.

Bridges was attracted to this high-growth sector as part of its focus on finding investable solutions to societal challenges within the area of ‘sustainable living’.

Commenting on BCMS’ advisory role, David Jonas said: “We spent two or three years exploring our [advisor] options. BCMS were the right size for us – they had the right infrastructure, the right knowledge and experience in the marketplace, and the right back-up team. [Considering] the value they got for the business, BCMS really earned their money, I felt.”

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