North American hemp specialist Planet Based Foods targets Europe

The company has a frozen range of hemp-based products, including burgers and sausages.

US hemp specialist Planet Based Foods has formed a UK subsidiary and is targeting Europe-wide expansion.

Founded in California and with a base in Canada, the company has a frozen range of hemp-based vegan products encompassing burgers, sausages, crumble and taquitos.

Now it plans to bring its offering to Europe via a new UK arm, PBF Europe.

It follows an announcement in March that the company, which dates back to 2018, was expanding its reach in the US through new distribution deals covering the American West and Midwest.

On its new European venture, CEO and co-founder Braelyn Davis said: “This is a groundbreaking announcement for Planet Based Foods and should come as no surprise for those that have been following our growth these past few months.”

Davis said the company is looking to partner with distributors and producers in the “food and beverage technology space” in Europe and is looking beyond selling its own products to “establish an ethically sustainable food system”. It also wants to work with local growers to begin harvesting hemp.

The company has brought in business development consultant Jason Smith, who has “assisted numerous businesses in challenging European foodservice and manufacturing sectors” to help establish its presence in Europe.

Quizzed on its European expansion plans by Just Food, Davis said: “Initially, the order of operation will be to set up distribution partners and cold storage facilities. We will work with UK produce groups to get hemp in the seed for trial runs. The main projects right now are developing the European food system and setting up cold storage and distribution partners. The US team will operate between the US and Europe and is in the process of hiring sales reps in Europe.”

Davis said distributors and producers have been identified in Europe and over the next months it will be “building out foodservice and retail”.

It will be using third-party manufacturers for its products.

“We have identified key partners and manufacturers who we plan to work with and will announce this shortly,” Davis said.

Its initial products for the European retail market will be non-dairy ice cream, taquitos and burgers.

The plan is to concentrate on the UK first and then to penetrate other European markets.

“We will use the UK as a launch pad; we are just getting started,” Davis said.

He said that the company is not anticipating problems with European regulators.

“There are always hurdles, but not more or less in Europe versus the US. We will have to make some package adjustments as well as ensure compliance,” he said.

Davis said the company’s vision is “much bigger than creating a plant-based, better-for-you brand”.

He said: “We’re here to help transform the food system. We’re on a mission to establish hemp as a nutrient-dense, sustainable food system that will nourish the people and rejuvenate our planet for generations to come.”

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