Chefs Chad and Derek Sarno just announced a corporate family reunion. This week, the two brothers (and founders of their own plant-based companies) revealed that UK-based Wicked Kitchen would be reeling in vegan seafood company Good Catch in an acquisition that will create a larger plant-based food company devoted to protecting the planet and making plant-based foods “for all to enjoy.” This deal will broaden Wicked Kitchen’s offerings to include frozen plant-based seafood products made by Good Catch,
The New England-born chefs developed the two businesses concurrently, one in the US and the other based in the UK, to better serve health-minded consumers and the environment. so Now, the brothers will work more closely together to improve their plant-based food distribution and continue a successful global expansion.
Founded in 2017, Wicked Kitchen has expanded from its roots in the UK to sell ready-made meals and now ice cream from lupini beans, across the United States, Finland, and Estonia. The company offers a wide variety of plant-based products, including vegan mayo, meatless deli meats, dressings, pre-made meals, instant noodle cups, and most recently a line of frozen desserts that taste as good or better than the real thing.
Chad Sarno’s Good Catch entered the U.S. market in 2019 as a new launch focused on tasty fish alternatives such as vegan crab cakes, fish cakes, and fish sticks and filets. Good Catch helped usher in a new era for high-end delicious vegan seafood that tastes as good as real seafood but is made from plant-based protein and seasonings. Good Catch shares what’s on the label (clean ingredients) but does not reveal its proprietary blend of six legumes that help elevate the tuna to taste exactly like fresh seafood.
“When creating Wicked Kitchen and Good Catch, our goal for both brands was to develop culinary-driven, industry-changing products that would challenge the way consumers think about their food choices and experiences,” Chad Sarno, who is slated to be the Chief Culinary Officer for both brands, said. “By coming together as one team and one mission, we will have a broader positive impact.”
By acquiring Good Catch, Wicked Kitchen’s product portfolio will now include 120 plant-based products across several food categories worldwide. The two mission-driven businesses aim to provide sustainable, healthy food to consumers everywhere, and together the Sarno brothers believe more good can be done.
Wicked Kitchen’s Global Expansion
To help expand the Wicked Kitchen brand, food industry veteran and CEO of Wicked Kitchen Pete Speranza will lead the new joint venture. In the acquisition, the parent company of Good Catch, Gathered Foods, will transition to be a shareholder of Wicked. With Good Catch’s well-researched vegan seafood category, Wicked expects to accelerate its plant-based seafood development.
“By folding Good Catch’s plant-based seafood offerings into Wicked Kitchen’s North American footprint we will have the largest variety of animal-free consumer packaged goods in the industry available at more than 30,000 distribution points,” Speranza said. “The two brands’ product lines complement each other and are 100% accretive, and the breadth of products across departments – from appetizers to desserts and everything in between – allows us to provide great-tasting food that appeals to everyone.”
Good Catch’s plant-based seafood is also food service tested. Last July, Long John Silver’s launched vegan crab cakes and fishless fillets with the help of Good Catch, marking the first time the fast food chain featured plant-based seafood. This experience will help Wicked expand out of the retail sector into the food service industry.
The Sarnos Are Helping to Make Plant-Based More Accessible
This January, Wicked Kitchen revealed that its sales nearly doubled, a trend recorded by the UK-based supermarket chain Tesco, where Derek Sarno works as the Director of Plant-Based Innovation.
Over the last year, Wicked Kitchen has more than tripled its retail presence. Now, the brand offers its extensive plant-based selection at over 6,500 retail stores worldwide including Giant, Sprouts Farmers Markets, Publix, and 7-Eleven locations. The brand revealed that it plans to debut in Thailand later this year.
Good Catch is available for American consumers nationwide. Shoppers can find the plant-based seafood products at Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts Farmers Markets, and Giants in the United States or at nearly 500 Tesco Stores in the United Kingdom. With the help of Wicked Kitchen, shoppers can expect to see vegan seafood products in more frozen aisles worldwide.
“By bringing Wicked Kitchen and Good Catch together, we are incredibly excited to embrace being true thought leaders in the plant-based space with our approach of creating culinary-forward foods with broad appeal for all to enjoy,” Speranza said. Talk about a good catch.
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