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Plant-based and alternative protein products in the North East

The UK and the North East of England is leading the way when it comes to developing environmentally friendly and sustainable plant-based and alternative protein products.

Companies in the North East will be in a prime position to take advantage of the growing demand for plant-based and alternative protein products, as concerns around sustainability and health are driving demand for these products across consumer sectors in the UK, Europe and beyond.

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North East of England

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment


Clean agri-tech, Food and drink

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Sector and market opportunity

The North East supports a growing innovation-driven plant-based and alternative protein products manufacturing cluster, including Quorn Foods and VBites, as well as an extensive agricultural supply chain and strong academic and research assets across the region.

Growth prospects

With a movement towards plant-based and vegan lifestyles, the UK meat-free foods market alone is expected to be worth £1.1 billion by 2024.


The North East has quickly developed into a prime location for the plant-based product sector, providing a mixture of affordable and highly flexible arable land and crop availability, processing, manufacturing, research and academic facilities and assets.

The region is keen to attract investment that aligns to the promotion of a circular economy and ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices.


Close to international logistics and passenger hubs, including Newcastle International Airport and Teesside International Airport.

Reach London in fewer than 3 hours with direct services from major train stations in the region.

Excellent road infrastructure benefits from some of the least congested roads in the country and connects the region to the rest of the UK.

Four deep-sea ports are strategic hubs for businesses serving northern England and Scotland.

Local talent and skills

Over 7,500 regional food and drink manufacturing companies and 112,000 employees based within manufacturing industries in the region.

The 5 leading universities create 3,275 industry ready graduates a year, specialising in chemistry, biology, agriculture and food science.

Research and expertise

The region’s research assets are outstanding and include the Centre for Process Innovation, NUTRAN, the Human Nutrition Research Centre, the Institute for Agri-Food Research and Innovation (IAFRI), NU Food and the National Horizons Centre.

Region Spotlight
North of England


The North of England is recognised as a global centre for creativity and design and attracts thriving international investment. This heritage of expertise and manufacturing know-how is well established on the world stage, and historically gave birth to the Industrial Revolution.

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Enabling clean growth

In comparison to meat and dairy, plant-based foods have much smaller carbon footprints. According to a 2018 study by Science Magazine, on average, emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than those from animal products.

Local and national government support

Local councils can provide recruitment and training, financing and potentially reduced business rates for investors.

There are a range of financial incentives available for companies investing in the North East. These vary across the region and include potential grant funding as well as other soft-landing incentives. Organisations in the region can support with guidance and advice to help drive businesses forward.

Success stories


Mylkman started trading in October 2017 having grown from food carts selling plant-based milks in glass bottles. V-Bites Ventures invested in June 2018, giving the company potential to scale through a move to the Peterlee facility in September 2019.

This gives the company dramatically reduced rental for similar facilities and the face and network of Heather Mills. VBites is currently 40% shareholder in the company.

Beaus Gelato

Beaus Gelato was founded in 2017 with the aim to reconnect ice cream with its roots of quality, health, community and planet.

Beaus operates in the space between premium quality, traditional gelaterias and innovative, modern manufacturers determined to move the industry forward in new ways. The business is based at the V-Bites site in Peterlee.

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