Leeds-based ice cream alchemist, Northern Bloc, has kick-started 2021 by securing a seven figure sum from Mobeus Equity Partners to fulfil its ambitious expansion targets in the growing plant-based sector.

Whilst the urban ice cream brand produces both vegan and dairy ice creams, it has scooped the funding as a direct result of the success of its market-leading vegan range.

Legal advice to Northern Bloc was provided by long-standing advisers Sarah Webster and Dan McCormack of the corporate team at Lupton Fawcett. Partner Dan said: “To see the Northern Bloc business develop from a single vintage ice cream van to a trailblazer in the sector in five years is testimony to the vision, determination and passion of Dirk, Josh and the rest of the team. The link up with Mobeus will help Northern Bloc grow even further.”

Plant-based and the pandemic

The pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing to a quarter of British millennials, according to Mintel. Across all Brits, the figure is over one in ten (12%.) Northern Bloc’s own sales support that, with vegan supermarket sales up over 60% on last year. Another study by Veganuary showed that 32% of all Brits are eating more vegan food, with nearly a half (41%) admitting that this is due to the link between animal agriculture and pandemics.

Directors, Josh Lee and Dirk Mischendahl, co-founded Northern Bloc in 2014. Dirk Mischendahl, explains: “The appetite for sustainable eating has jumped forward five years, in the space of just one. The result of our actions on the planet became very real in 2020, both in terms of the origin of the pandemic and the positive changes that were made to the environment during the global lockdown. Plant-based is no longer a dietary requirement, it’s fast becoming a way of life and Northern Bloc is proud to be at the forefront of bold, innovative, amazing tasting products which suit this revolution. Entering Veganuary, our aim is to continue to grow our business, building on our strong base in the retail market whilst maintaining our premium offering for the out of home sector.”

Ice cream for all

The urban ice cream brand has strong distribution in the retail sector, with listings in Ocado, Co-op, Waitrose and Morrisons, but its heritage is in out-of-home. Its individual tubs are available in theatres, arts venues and tourist attractions across the country and when the lockdown hit and many of these venues closed, the brand shifted it’s focus further towards retail, whilst maintaining support for its key out of home customers.

In support of its partners in the struggling theatre industry, Northern Bloc created a new, limited edition vegan ice cream called The Show Must Go On! available exclusively in Waitrose. Proceeds from the white chocolate and honeycomb flavour are donated to Theatre Support Fund+, an organisation set up by two employees of the West End, which supports arts charities responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  2020 also saw Northern Bloc become the first ice cream brand in the UK to introduce fully sustainable packaging, removing the plastic coating on its paper tubs to a fully recyclable, compostable alternative.

Josh Lee continued: “Doing the right thing is at the heart of Northern Bloc, from leading the way in sustainable innovation to supporting our partners and customers. Partnering with a responsible investor was fundamental to our growth strategy and we’re delighted to be working with Mobeus, a business which shares our vision and values.”

Northern Bloc will invest the funding in increasing its production capacity, strengthening the team and focusing on brand experience across retail and out of home.

Jane Reoch, Investment Director from Mobeus Equity Partners, commented: “Northern Bloc is a true breakthrough brand, well positioned for growth as the plant-based movement garners global attention. The products use all-natural flavours with no compromise on quality or taste. Dirk, Josh and the team have been a pleasure to work with throughout the transaction”

Northern Bloc’s limited edition 500ml tubs supporting Theatre Support Fund+ are available in Waitrose now.

For more information, please visit www.northern-bloc.com

 

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