Northern Bloc scoops seven figure investment; aims to become number one plant-based ice cream brand
Leeds-based ice cream alchemist, Northern Bloc, has kick-started 2021 by securing a seven figure sum from Mobeus to fulfil its ambitious expansion targets in the growing plant-based sector.
The urban ice cream brand has scooped the funding as a direct result of the success of its market-leading vegan range.
Plant-based and the pandemic
The pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing to a quarter of young British millennials, according to Mintel*. Across all Brits, the figure is 12%. Northern Bloc’s own sales support that, with vegan supermarket sales up over 60% on the previous year**. Another study by Veganuary*** showed that 32% of survey participants are eating more vegan food, with 41% of respondents admitting that this is due to the link between animal agriculture and pandemics.
Directors Josh Lee and Dirk Mischendahl co-founded Northern Bloc in 2014. Dirk Mischendahl explains: “The appetite for sustainable eating has jumped forward five years, in the space of just one. The result of our actions on the planet became very real in 2020, both in terms of the origin of the pandemic and the positive changes that were made to the environment during the global lockdown. Plant-based is no longer a dietary requirement, it’s fast becoming a way of life and Northern Bloc is proud to be at the forefront of bold, innovative, amazing tasting products which suit this revolution. Entering Veganuary, our aim is to continue to grow our business, building on our strong base in the retail market whilst maintaining our premium offering for the out of home sector.”
Ice cream for all
The urban ice cream brand has strong distribution in the retail sector, with listings in Waitrose, Co-op and Morrison’s, but its heritage is in out of home. Its individual tubs are usually available in theatres, arts venues and tourist attractions across the country. When the lockdown hit and many of these venues closed, the brand shifted its focus further towards retail, whilst maintaining support for its key out-of-home customers. 2020 also saw Northern Bloc become the first ice cream brand in the UK to introduce fully sustainable packaging, removing the plastic coating on its paper tubs to a fully recyclable, compostable alternative.
Josh Lee continued: “Doing the right thing is at the heart of Northern Bloc, from leading the way in sustainable innovation to supporting our partners and customers. Partnering with a responsible investor was fundamental to our growth strategy and we’re delighted to be working with Mobeus, which shares our vision and values.”
Northern Bloc will invest the funding in increasing its production capacity, strengthening the team and focusing on brand experience across retail and out of home.
The Mobeus deal team comprised Jane Reoch, Investment Director, and Amaad Mahmood, Investment Executive. Paul Keen, previously CFO of ETC Venues, will join the board as a Non-Executive Director.
Jane commented: “Northern Bloc is a true breakthrough brand, well positioned for growth as the plant-based movement garners global attention. The products use all-natural flavours with no compromise on quality or taste. Dirk, Josh and the team have been a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction”
** Based on retail sales from March 2020 - Nov 2020 versus March 2019 - Nov 2019