Described as a “sit-down protest”, Veganuary co-founder Matthew Glover has turned his attention to vegan fried chick*n, with the aim of putting factory farms out of business.
Having set up Veganuary with his wife, Jane Land, Glover is hoping to help “the biggest victims of the factory farming system”: chickens, with the launch of VFC, his vegan fried chick*n company. Since taking-off in 2014, Veganuary has become a global success, with Glover’s investment fund having assisted the launch of successful vegan food companies such as THIS and The Mighty Pea.
Teaming up with another York-based businessman, chef and restaurateur, Adam Lyons, VFC promises to be a “bold, edgy, vegan fried chick*n company”. At his restaurant, Source, Lyons served vegan meals alongside meat, fish and vegetarian options. Particularly fond of Lyons’ vegan fried chick*n, Matthew Glover believes that if people were to taste the dish, they’d realise factory farming and slaughter were unnecessary to get the taste and texture of the meat. Glover thus favours meat alternatives, with VFC made using wheat protein that’s free-from both soya and nuts.
Inspired by Glover, Lyons took part in Veganuary before working on the launch of VFC. Then, with the idea eventually taking shape, Glover took the chef inside a typical industrial chicken farm.
“Adam had never thought too closely about how chickens were reared before then, and that visit was a game-changer for him,” said Glover. “He went in as a fledgling vegan and came out one hundred per cent committed to getting VFC into the mainstream market.”
A seam of activism also permeates VFC’s branding, with bold packaging featuring stylised graffiti and campaign messaging, while the website hosts the men’s filmed visit to the chicken farm. The company’s mission statement also draws on the history of social justice movements.
“I am a businessman turned activist,” explains Glover, “and VFC is very much a marriage of the two. There are many ways to dismantle unjust systems, and we intend VFC to be part of the movement that puts an end to factory farming for good.”
As well as hiring brand design consultancy Elmwood (the team behind Wicked Kitchen, sold through Tesco) for the launch of VFC, a sales director has also been hired with the express aim of getting the products on the high street as quickly as possible. Until then, the vegan fried chick*n products are currently available to order online, from VFC’s website, including the likes of VFC Bites and VFC Fillets (both available as ‘original’ or ‘spicy’), and Bites & Fries with ‘tangy barbecue sauce’.
“We’re not messing about,” says Lyons. “We’ve developed a fantastic product that looks, cooks and tastes like chicken, we’ve appointed an ambitious team, and we are ready to play our part in emptying those factory farm sheds. That’s what drives us on.”