Chad and Derek Sarno, two chefs who started the plant-based food company Wicked Kitchen, have acquired a $20 million investment to help the business expand.
Actor Woody Harrelson, a vegan, took part in the investment round; he said that his friendship with the company’s founding brothers influenced his choice.
“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 stated.
The Texan has previously collaborated with the Sarnos on Wicked Kitchen-related projects, such as their docuseries Wicked Healthy World and a vegan cookbook.
“This latest round of funding will help us go faster to expand our offerings in the US and abroad,” said Pete Speranza, Wicked Kitchen CEO.
“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.\
Growth of Wicked Kitchen
Initially, Tesco, the biggest grocery chain in the UK, was Wicked Kitchen’s sole launch partner. The brand has only recently begun to gain traction in the US and in Europe. Deliberate conversations about starting in Thailand are also ongoing.
The Sarno brothers have been able to merge their interests in business and food through strategic acquisitions. This was evident in September, when Sarno’s fellow company Good Catch was acquired by Wicked Kitchen.
In an effort to upend the traditional fish industry, the brothers started Good Catch in 2019. Since then, grocery stores across the US and Canada have increased its presence in ambient and frozen displays. Additionally, fast food restaurants like Long John Silver’s and Next Level Burger have employed it.
Good Catch, which already has a presence in Asia, gives Wicked Kitchen access to a rapidly expanding plant-based market, where the demand for meat substitutes has increased year over year. This will assist the ambitious worldwide expansion goals that were supported by the $14 million donation from last year.
Woody Harrelson’s vegan investments
For more than 30 years, Harrelson has been a vegan. Sadie Sink from Stranger Things is one of his co-stars who he has been known to push to adopt a vegan diet. He has since invested in a number of vegan companies. These include Abbot’s Butcher, a premium alternative meat business that also received support from actor Owen Wilson, and Good Catch, a seafood company that was recently sold.
Source: “Vegan Food Brand Wicked Kitchen Raises $20 Million – With Help From Woody Harrelson” by Plant Based News
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