Wicked Foods Inc. Acquires Current Foods in California 

Wicked Foods Inc., the company behind vegan-friendly meat products and brand Wicked Kitchen, based in Minneapolis, United States, acquired Current Foods, a vegan seafood producer based in California, United States, on May 23, 2023. The acquisition allows Wicked Foods to expand its offering to include plant-based tuna and salmon.

Transaction Summary

The Facts of the Acquisition

The vegan food industry is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 12.95%, which is higher than the growth rate in GDP of 1.3% in developed countries (source: International Monetary Fund). This is primarily due to a focus on healthier, sustainable living and healthier options being available to consumers. 

Both companies are in the VC-funded growth phase. Wicked Foods (acquirer) has had strong growth in the past few years with the advent of the vegan boom in the United States, and it capitalized on the more mature United Kingdom vegan market. The vegan tuna and vegan salmon developed by Current Foods (target) are excellent complements to Wicked Foods’ current range and brand.

Our Take on the Acquisition

While the vegan food industry shows excellent prospects for growth globally, it’s hard to evaluate the factors that contribute to growth for high-end vegan products in the current inflationary market. Customer taste in this segment has been temperamental, and products are sold at a premium. The company is still in its VC-funded growth phase as is the target. 

The all-stock transaction makes sense for Wicked Foods as the deal won’t create a liquidity squeeze on its ongoing operations. The stock deal would also be beneficial for the investors of Current Foods since the owners would receive stock in a company with similar ESG values and stock in a company with expanded marketing and a more diversified product range.

The Transaction

Date:May 23, 2023
Type:All-stock transaction
Purpose: To grow through acquisition and expand product lines.
Acquirer’s Statement:Pete Speranza, CEO of Wicked Kitchen – “Current Foods is a perfect match for Wicked as a global-impact brand with the same mission and complementary products. With this deal and the Good Catch acquisition, we’re uniquely positioned as consumers continually learn about the environmental impact realities on sea life. We’re able to put the Current Foods brand in the best possible spot to thrive, and as a versatile multi-category brand, Wicked Kitchen is the home to do that.”

Target/Seller: Current Foods

Company Information

Target:Current Foods
Industry: Food and Beverage Services – Premium Vegan Foods
Type:Private, Received 10 rounds of Venture Capital Funding (Source: Crunchbase)
Employees:24 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:San Francisco, California, United States 
Total Funding:USD $21.2 million (Source: Crunchbase)
Investors:Astanor Ventures – Impact investor with interests in investing to sustainability, combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
Electric Feel Ventures – Venture arm of Electric Feel Entertainment, with a focus on early stage consumer-packaged goods startups
Good Seed Ventures – Exclusively invests in sustainable food solutions
Y Combinator – Startup Accelerator that has launched more than 4,000 companies with a combined valuation of USD $600 billion

Product Information 

Products:Plant-Based Salmon – Vegan salmon made from pea protein, sunflower oil, bamboo fiber, potato starch, sea salt, vegetable juice, algae oil, and natural flavors 
Plant-Based Tuna – Vegan tuna made from pea protein, sunflower oil, bamboo fiber, potato starch, sea salt, vegetable juice, algae oil, and natural flavors

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $8.4 million (Estimated)
Revenue per Employee:USD $354,054 x Employees of the target company (24)

Target/Seller Overview: Current Foods

In 2019, Current Foods set out to make plant-based (vegan) seafood. After two years of research and development, Current Foods created something better: seafood that just happens to be made from plants. Forget the “plant-based” qualifier. This is seafood that goes toe-to-toe with the traditional stuff – from taste, texture, and nutritional density – and just so happens to be made from a medley of vegetables. Earthly ingredients meet imaginative food science. The main products are plant-based tuna and salmon.

Current Foods is bringing the future of food to the present. Our diets, our personal health, and our planet’s health can ride the same current and be better for it. Current Foods is available in 450+ U.S. and European locations.

Plant-based salmon and tuna produced by Current Foods

Buyer/Acquirer: Wicked Foods Inc.

Company Information

Buyer:Wicked Foods Inc
Industry: Food and Beverage Services – Premium Vegan Foods
Locations:Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area, Great Lakes, Minnesota, United States

Product Information 

Products:Plant-Based Stew/Cups – Ready-to-cook vegan stew
Meal Kits – Ready-to-cook vegan meals with all ingredients included
Variety Packs – Assorted popular vegan based dishes
Vegan Mayo – Mayonnaise made from dairy substitute like soy milk
Vegan Ice-Cream – Dairy-free ice cream

Investment Information 

Type:Private, Received four rounds of venture capital investment (Source: Crunchbase)
Founded:January 2016
Employees: 37 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Total Funding:$34 million (Source: Crunchbase)
InvestorsAhimsa VC – India’s first venture capital fund investing in sustainable alternatives to animal agriculture in food and material industries
NR Instant Produce Company Limited – A publicly listed company in Thailand with aims to decarbonize the world through food system transformation
Unovis Asset Management – Global investor in the alternative and plant-based protein sector
Woody Harrelson – The Hollywood celebrity invested as an angel investor. We tried researching the connection between Mr. Harrelson and Wicked Kitchen with no substantive relationship. Mr. Harrelson is a vegan, which may have contributed to his decision to invest in Wicked Kitchen. He has previously invested in Canva with fellow actor Owen Wilson, and in Abbot’s Butcher, another company that produces and sells vegan food products.

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $13.1 million (2022) – (Source: Self-published in financial statements 2022)
Revenue per Employee:USD $354,054
EBITDA: USD Negative $20.7 million (2022) – (Source: Self-published in financial statements 2022)

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: Wicked Foods

Producer of plant-based (vegan) meat products and publisher of recipes intended to increase the use of plants in daily food consumption. The company’s products and recipes offer mains, bites, and sweets. The company also provides classes and cookbooks for the recipes, enabling consumers to enjoy and change their eating habits, which will benefit their own lives, animals, and the planet.

Wicked launched in the United Kingdom with 20 products offered at Tesco, the supermarket. In six months, the product line increased to 45 offerings and completed 10 million units sold in 16 months. In 2021, Wicked Kitchen expanded to the United States through a partnership with Kroger supermarkets and Sprouts Farmers Markets, then subsequently to Finland and Thailand, again through partnerships with local supermarkets. 

 Previous Acquisitions

  • Good Catch (2022) – Assorted plant-based seafood made from pea protein, chickpea flour, lentil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, wheat flour, corn starch, and other plant-based ingredients.
Wicked Kitchen’s line of vegan-friendly food options

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