Well known entrepreneur Heather Mills has successfully orchestrated a £1 million rescue deal for her vegan food business, VBites. The company went into administration just a little over a month ago in the second week of December 2023. Ms. Mills, who accused the meat industry of triggering a decline in sales, managed to outbid five rivals in a month-long effort to rebuild the business.
VBites, established in 1993, specialises in producing plant-based products like sausages, burgers, and fish fingers and had served as a supplier for McDonald’s. A team from Interpath Advisory was appointed to oversee the business administration process. As per their report, VBites was pushed to the brink due to soaring costs and consumers shifting to more affordable vegan alternatives. All of this combined with the overall rising inflation especially in the food industry led to the business’s collapse.
Up until the end of March, 2023, VBites recorded sales amounting to £7.7 million. However, the company reported an EBITDA loss of £3.1 million and held net liabilities totaling £1.7 million, which led to the administration. The administrators’ initial approach upon appointment was to sustain business operations briefly. This strategy aimed to maximise returns from existing stock, ensuring ongoing service for customers, and preserving the business’s value for a potential sale.
Added to that, Ms. Mills attributed this administration to “corporate greed and poor management” in the Vegan foods industry. In the face of adversity, the founder has taken on the responsibility of resurrecting the company. She has personally relocated to the North East to ensure she can be actively involved in the business and ensure a positive contribution towards its operations.
Decreased meat and dairy purchases, influenced by climate and cost-of-living concerns, led to a sector-wide price decline. VBites and other vegan businesses faced challenges in 2023 due to a slowdown in plant-based alternative demand. Meatless Farm collapsed and was acquired by VFC. TheYorkshire sausage company Heck reduced its vegan sausage range from 15 to two products last year amid declining demand.
Despite the rescue deal covering the company’s assets, including factories in County Durham and Northamptonshire, the unfortunate outcome was the redundancy of the remaining 64 staff members. However, Heather Mills has made a commitment to rehire 40 workers. She also emphasised the need for the plant-based industry to unify its voice, promoting facts instead of misinformation.
VBites is now gearing up to introduce the next generation of vegan foods—defined as “clean, innovative plant-based foods” that are gut-friendly. Keep following Administration List for more information.