Unilever is expanding its portfolio with the acquisition of The Vegetarian Butcher to meet the growing demand among consumers for vegetarian and vegan meals.

Founded by Jaap Korteweg in 2007, The Vegetarian Butcher offers meat-substitute products, which are currently sold in more than 4,000 outlets across 17 countries.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed by both companies. The deal is expected to be completed before the end of this year.

Korteweg said: “We want to take the next step, conquer the world. It is our mission to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard. We believe that with Unilever’s international network, this acquisition will help to accelerate our mission.”

“It is our mission to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard. We believe that with Unilever’s international network, this acquisition will help to accelerate our mission.”

The acquisition is said to be in line with Unilever’s strategy to add plant-based foods into its portfolio that are healthier and have a lower environmental impact.

Since 2016, Unilever and The Vegetarian Butcher have been working together and jointly launched the Vegetarian Meatballs in Satay Sauce and Vegetarian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce. These products were marketed under the Unox brand.

Currently, Unilever offers about 700 products with V-label in Europe. In the Netherlands, it sells its products under Unox, Knorr, Hellmann’s, Conimex and Ben & Jerry’s brands.

Unilever Foods and Refreshment president Nitin Paranjpe said: “The Vegetarian Butcher is a brand with a clear mission, many loyal ambassadors, a good following on social media and a strong position in the market.

“The brand will fit in well within our portfolio of ‘brands with purpose’, which have a positive social impact, are better positioned to meet the needs of consumers and are growing faster. Importantly, this acquisition will help us to accelerate our journey towards more plant-based food.”

Unilever intends to retain all the 90 employees of The Vegetarian Butcher.