Nigeria’s first plant-based food tech VeggieVictory has attracted international investment from a number of veterans in the vegan industry. Now, the vegan company has set its sights on expanding into more African countries and leading the plant-based movement in the continent through its alternative protein products.
Founded in 2013 by Bola Adeyanju and Hakeem Jimo, VeggieVictory is Nigeria’s first 100% vegan protein brand and restaurant. The Lagos-based company has developed “plant strong” meat alternatives such as soya-based hot dogs, tofu scrambles, meat-free burger patties and shawarmas, as well as tailored Nigerian cuisine dishes, such as efo riro stews with vegan meat.
In 2016, the company introduced VegMeat, plant-based meat chunks that are locally manufactured and shelf-stable, meaning they do not need to be refrigerated. The product is currently available in over 12 Nigerian states with growing demand from other markets, according to VeggieVictory.
Now, VeggieVictory has drawn in angel investment from veterans of the global plant-based industry including Ryan Bethencourt, the founder and CEO of California vegan pet food brand Wild Earth and early-stage alternative protein investor, and Anant Joshi, the founder of Plant CEO.
What’s amazing is the opportunity that there is in Africa with a population forecasted to be more than doubled by 2050 to 2.5 billion people. Bringing with that a huge demand for protein which is healthy, sustainable and plant based.Anant Joshi, Founder of Plant CEO
“Huge thank you to the VeggieVictory teams for allowing me to join their journey through investing in Nigeria’s first plant-based meat company,” shared Bethencourt in a social media post. Bethencourt recently invested in India’s first plant-based egg food tech, Evo Foods.
“Really happy to be part of this with my co-investor Ryan Bethencourt. What’s amazing is the opportunity that there is in Africa with a population forecasted to be more than doubled by 2050 to 2.5 billion people,” said Joshi. “Bringing with that a huge demand for protein which is healthy, sustainable and plant based.”
As Africa’s population continues to grow, the continent is facing great challenges to ensure the security of its food supply. Agriculture is increasingly being impacted by frequent climate-induced weather events such as droughts, and a number of key staple crops that are internationally exported are already being impacted by climate change.
Scientists have reiterated that at the crux of the broken food system is the global demand for animal agriculture, which at present generates 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and is driving environmentally destructive practices such as deforestation. A shift to more sustainable proteins such as plant-based alternatives is therefore crucial in order to sustain the needs of the planet.
Looking ahead, VeggieVictory is planning to expand its reach across the continent, starting with neighbouring West African countries. Speaking to The Vegan Review, co-founder Jimo said that the company hopes to “become the trailblazer for plant-based eating…through aspirational innovative products as first-choice protein source.”
Jimo added that the firm will also be bringing “other surprises” to the table, including new products such as a dried vegan beef jerky.