Vegan food business expands to meet demand

Hilary and Alberto

Vegan food business expands to meet demand

A Renfrewshire company that creates vegan alternatives to meat products now has more than 50 stockists and supplies every Whole Foods store in the UK.

Sgaia Foods was founded by Hilary Masin and Alberto Casotto, who began making their own plant based meat around 2013.

Spotting a gap in the market the pair decided to start selling their Mheat in 2015, and it is now stocked widely throughout the UK in retailers including Roots and Fruits and Real Foods, as well as used by restaurants throughout Scotland and England.

Hilary said: “Our Scottish customers have literally propelled us to a whole new world. We’ve gone from making these products in our kitchen at home, to having three units in an industrial complex in Paisley.

“We’ve sent pallets to New Zealand and we’re stocked widely across the UK including in some prominent London retailers. We’re also working with some great restaurants partners to bring our Mheat onto as many plates as we can.

The business was supported by Business Gateway, who helped Hilary and Alberto as their business grew. Hilary explained: “Thanks to Business Gateway we met our current mentor who has completely changed our perception of business management and helps us keep on top of things as the business grows rapidly. We couldn’t be more grateful to Business Gateway for this as we don’t know where we would be now without that support.”

Philippa Simms of Business Gateway Renfrewshire said: “We have assisted Hilary and Alberto in a number of areas including identifying sources of funding which would help them scale up their production levels to meet demand as well as exporting advice in order to explore international opportunities.”

Sgaia Foods produces steaks, burgers and rashers, cheeses and charcuterie packs and going forward Hilary and Alberto want to continue to grow, share their foods with as many people as possible and turn their focus to securing suppliers within the catering industry.

Hilary added: “Our food business was launched in order to promote plant-based living where meat, cheese and milk are made vegan to support those in search for tasty, animal-free foods. We believe we have also created something that resonates with people who haven’t connected to plant-based living yet. The main purpose of our business was to enrich the quality and quantity of vegan products available on the market and to support putting an end to the exploitation of non-humans for dietary purposes.

“That said, we are also passionate about culinary heritage and as Italians, we grew up with beef lasagne, spicy salamino on our pizzas and prosciutto crudo in our sandwiches so we wanted to maintain that link in some way and I think our range of products does that.”