For the past few years, LiveKindly has been a digital media company with a focus on plant-based food stories like “The Beyond Burger just launched at Ikea” or “Colgate just launched 2 certified vegan toothpastes.” Now it’s transforming into a larger company that will also sell that food. The newly launched LiveKindly Co., a “collective” of food brands with $200 million in funding, says that it aims to become the largest player in the plant-based food space.
“The LiveKindly media part is about the activist voice and market development—the totality of creating awareness around plant-based and vegan living,” says Kees Kruythoff, a former Unilever executive who is now CEO of LiveKindly Co. “Now it’s not just creating the awareness, but also the element that creates the solution.” It’s a little like a vegan-focused version of Goop, he says, which also combines a media platform with product sales.
The company now includes LikeMeat, a Germany-based company that sells products like bratwurst and pulled pork made from soy in Europe, the Fry Family Food Co., which sells plant-based meat in South Africa, Europe, the U.K., and Australia, and the company is also in talks with Daring Foods, a U.K. plant-based chicken startup that will soon launch its products in the U.S.
LiveKindly is targeting plant-based chicken, where it says it sees a gap in the market. The products have “kitchen-recognizable” ingredients. “[The industry] needs to go from processed foods to clean label, natural ingredients,” Kruythoff says. It’s also partnering with poultry companies to help them transition to plant-based alternatives. “That comes from our theory of change, which tells us that you should help incumbents transform rather than be a niche disruptor,” he says. “When you really want to have big impact, you go to existing poultry businesses and you help redefine their business from poultry to protein . . . there’s the ability to us their total infrastructure and systems to be able to build a business at scale and execute at speed. Over time, these companies really look at themselves and say, we want to transform ourselves.”
That transformation is already happening in the meat industry, where large companies have been heavily investing in “alternative protein” for the past few years. The market keeps growing. A recent study from the nonprofit Good Food Institute found that plant-based food sales in retail stores grew 29% over the past two years in the U.S., more than seven times faster than overall food sales.