The business was founded 30 years ago as Redwood Wholefood, before being purchased by the entrepreneur and model in 2007.
In a statement issued on her website, Mills said that the demise of VBites was not an “isolated case” and argued that lessons need to be taken from the downfall of several food manufacturers producing vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives.
Mills added: “My team and I have undertaken 30 years of product creation and evolution as well as personally investing tens of millions of pounds into the business and offering every solution I feasibly could to keep it going, but sadly mine and my staff’s efforts have been thwarted by a demand that I stepped away from day to day management, in order to secure essential investment and a combination of corporate greed and poor management, the cost of living crisis, price rises in the global ingredients and utilities markets and the current state of the manufacturing economy in Britain.”
She also highlighted Brexit as a challenge, describing the UK’s exit from the EU as an “utter disaster” for the sector.
James Clark and Howard Smith from Interpath Advisory have been appointed as joint administrators and confirmed they would continue to operate the Peterlee manufacturing site until a buyer was found. As a result, 29 staff will be retained at Peterlee, while 25 employees at the site in Corby will remain to assist with the fulfilment of outstanding orders. However, 24 employees across the business have been made redundant.
Outlining the next steps, Clark said: “VBites is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of vegan food products but unfortunately, and in common with many other companies across the food manufacturing sector, had seen trading impacted by rising commodity and energy prices.
“Our immediate priority is to provide support and assistance to those employees impacted by redundancy, as well as seeking a buyer for the business and its assets. We would encourage any interested parties to make contact with us at the earliest opportunity.”