Bridges exits specialist plant-based food supplier Vegetarian Express

We’re delighted to announce that Bridges has exited its investment into Vegetarian Express, the specialist plant-based ingredients supplier, to NVM Private Equity.

The Watford-based business specialises in providing high quality, plant-based ingredients, ideas and inspiration to chefs across the UK.

Having identified Vegetarian Express in 2016 as a business with strong potential, and in line with Bridges’ ‘Sustainable Planet’ theme, the business has grown substantially to become the UK’s leading specialist provider of plant-based ingredients, supplying over 1,200+ products to a diverse customer base of over 3,000 chefs nationally.

With its compelling market opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, Vegetarian Express has more than doubled revenues under ownership and averted an estimated c.15,000 tonnes of CO2e as a result of its products directly replacing meat or dairy products.

Under the leadership of Managing Director, Dave Webster, and with Bridges’ support, the company became the UK’s first foodservice business to achieve B Corp status in 2019, and saw significant geographical diversification, entered new sectors, and launched an e-commerce platform to reach smaller independent customers.

Dave Webster, Managing Director of Vegetarian Express, said:

“The management team and I are incredibly proud of what we’ve delivered in the last seven years, which has seen the professionalisation of Vegetarian Express into the UK’s leading plant-based category specialist to the foodservice sector. For the next stage of our growth journey, we’re excited to be partnering with private equity firm NVM. NVM’s backing will enable us to scale faster and help even more customers get brilliant-plant-based food on their menus.

Emma Thorne, Partner at Bridges, said:

“We invested in Vegetarian Express because we believed there was a clear commercial and impact opportunity in helping consumers reduce their meat consumption by switching to plant-based meals.

In Vegetarian Express, we identified a best-in-class provider with strong growth potential that also shared our values. The business has grown substantially over the course of our investment  diversifying its offering, expanding its own-brand range and launching its unique Seedbank tool for chefs. We’re really proud of the growth and impact it has achieved, and wish its outstanding team all the best for the future.”