Vejii's pending acquisition of VEDGEco is expected to drive synergies across purchasing, customer service, technology and logistics for the two companies.
Vejii Holdings Ltd., a North American online marketplace for plant-based and sustainable products, has entered into a share purchase agreement to acquire VEDGEco USA Inc., an online business-to-business (B2B) wholesale platform for plant-based products. Under the terms of the agreement, Vejii will acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of VEDGEco from that company’s shareholders. The total purchase price for the purchased shares will be US $6.25 million.
“VEDGEco launched as one of the first online wholesale platforms dedicated to providing restaurants and independent grocers with a large selection of high-quality plant-based options,” noted Kory Zelickson, CEO of Kelowna, British Columbia-based Vejii. “This meant that small business owners could at last gain access to a large selection of plant-based products and ingredients without the requirements that typical larger national distributors have in place, such as large minimum-order sizes.”
VEDGEco’s key executives are expected to continue to run its operations following the transaction’s close, which is expected to occur around Dec. 31, subject to customary closing conditions.
The deal will considerably augment Vejii’s offering of plant-based brands, which, through ShopVejii.com and VeganEssentials.com, are already available across the United States and Canada.
“We heard consistently from the brands that we serve that they were seeking to make the leap from e-commerce, to grocery and foodservice distribution,” continued Zelickson. “This could mean shipping samples, managing broker relationships, or gaining access to those restaurants and grocers not served by the larger wholesalers. We already work with our brand partners on a business-to-consumer (B2C) strategy through our marketplace, but now we can also help our brand partners get access to distribution in local restaurants and grocers, expanding Vejii’s capabilities from just B2C to also include B2B and foodservice.”
“I built VEDGEco out of a necessity, given the limited plant-based options available in the small and local grocers and restaurants where I live, in Kailua, Hawaii,” explained Trevor Hitch, CEO of VEDGEco, which launched in 2020. “Most of us are likely to have our first experience trying new plant-based products at a restaurant before purchasing those items to enjoy at home. With VEDGEco, our mission is to make plant-based options more broadly available by making them accessible to thousands of local restaurants across America. This access gives owners the ability to test products on their menu through our easy-to-use platform, without the need for long-term commitments or high minimum-order volumes. Owners can then see what works for their customer base and then return to reorder or test new options.”
Offering a carefully curated selection of plant-based meat, dairy, and egg alternatives, VEDGEco ships frozen and in recyclable and compostable packaging to reduce its carbon footprint.
The transaction is expected to drive synergies across purchasing, customer service, technology and logistics for the two companies. Vejii will also be able to leverage VEDGEco’s existing facilities in Hawaii, Northern California and Georgia while giving VEDGEco access to its facilities in Texas, Wisconsin and a soon-to-be operational third-party logistics operation in Southern California.
“The acquisition of VEDGEco will allow us to add a new revenue stream while increasing our buying power and margins with large brands, and also adding tremendous value for the brands on our platform,” said Vejii COO Darren Gill. “As restaurants and grocers expand their plant-based offerings, we will be strategically positioned to serve them while helping plant-based brands scale their businesses by offering those brands access to national distribution through the VEDGEco wholesale platform.”
As well as providing VEDGEco’s existing offering of wholesale plant-based products, Vejii will now be able to greatly expand VEDGEco’s product selection by leveraging its own existing case-lot purchasing and growing the variety of items on its platform through VEDGEco. Additionally, the distribution centers that VEDGEco operates in Hawaii and California will further expand Vejii’s distribution network, reducing shipping costs and expanding its regionalized same-day delivery capability.
Vejii also owns and operates Veg Essentials LLC, operator of VeganEssentials.com, one of the largest vegan marketplaces in the United States, which it acquired in late 2021.