British artisan crisp company Burts Chips has acquired popcorn manufacturer Savoury & Sweet in a bid to bolster its position in healthy snacking.
Based in Leicester, Savoury & Sweet is best known for its Lord Poppington’s brand of popcorn, which features distinctive British branding and flavours such as cheese and onion, and chilli and lime. It also makes a line of sweet and salted popcorn called Popcorn & Me.
As part of the acquisition, Burts has purchased Savoury & Sweet’s 71,000-square-foot production facility in Leicester, as well as the offices and warehousing facilities on site. All 99 employees will be retained and the business will be rebranded as Burts Snacks.
It is the first time that Burts has moved into the popcorn category.
“The Burts business has grown significantly over the last five years, from £11.4 million in 2013 to an anticipated £37 million post-acquisition for 2017,” said Burts’ managing David Nairn. “Whilst impressive, our ambition is to drive the business to over £100 million in the next five years to become the UK’s biggest player within premium snacking.
“While organic growth of our existing operation in Plymouth is a big part of this and anticipated to reach £70 million, acquisitions of like-minded and complementary businesses will help us accelerate our expansion.”
Burts has invested over £12 million in the last five years to increase capacity to 200 tonnes a week – including in its growing ‘better for you’ business, which includes products such as Lentil Waves and Quinoa Crinkles. This latest acquisition – a rare foray into the market for Burts – comes exactly three months after it invested a further £3 million in its crisp factory in Cornwall.
Nairn added: “To realise our ambitions, it was clear that we needed to expand not only our capacity but also diversify our product portfolio with new technologies and innovations. Our wish was to achieve this within Burts and extend our own capabilities rather than look at the co-packing arrangements that some of our competitors have used. We therefore needed to identify high quality existing businesses with a similar ethos of quality as us, but who could offer different snacking expertise and format technology. Savoury & Sweet fulfils both of these aims.
He continued: “This is an exciting time for Burts. NPD is high on our agenda and we are looking forward to bringing new and exciting innovation that will challenge the current UK snack market.”
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