This week, multinational conglomerate Unilever announced its acquisition of Holland-based meatless company De Vegetarische Slager (“The Vegetarian Butcher”). While Unilever did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition, the company stated that it’s “responding to the growing trend among consumers to increasingly opt for vegetarian and vegan meals.” Jaap Korteweg founded The Vegetarian Butcher in 2007 and currently distributes its meatless products at 4,000 retail outlets across 17 countries. Approximately 70 percent of The Vegetarian Butcher’s products are now vegan, and Korteweg plans to phase out all animal products by the end of 2019. “We want to take the next step—conquer the world,” Korteweg said. “It is our mission to make plant-based ‘meat’ the standard. We believe that with Unilever’s international network, this acquisition will help to accelerate our mission.” Unilever sells 700 products with a “v-label” (vegetarian and/or vegan) in Europe, including vegan products made by its subsidiary brands such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise.
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