Sector News

Unilever acquires condiments maker Sir Kensington's

April 21, 2017
Food & Drink

Unilever, the European giant consumer products maker behind Lipton teas and Hellmann’s mayo, has agreed to purchase a tiny condiments maker that has won shelf space at Whole Foods and other retailers.

The New York Times has reported that Unilever has agreed to purchase Sir Kensington’s, which makes ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard products that are all GMO free. Terms of the deal for Sir Kensington—which was founded in 2010—weren’t disclosed. The small food startup had raised $8.5 million in a Series A round back in 2015, a fundraising round led by consumer-brands focused investment firm Verlinvest, which also previously invested in Vitaminwater and Vita Coco.

The acquisition of Sir Kensington’s is the most notable deal from Unilever since it agreed to acquire Seventh Generation last fall. Unilever also generated headlines when it paid $1 billion for Dollar Shave Club last summer.

But the Sir Kensington deal by Unliver is the latest by a “Big Food” manufacturer to acquire a smaller target at a time when consumers are increasingly willing to try out new brands they find at the local grocery store. Sir Kensington, as a mayo maker, is essentially a threat to legacy brands like Hellmann’s at a time when consumers are willing to give upstart brands a chance as they explore new flavors and also want “cleaner” labels. Hellmann’s has aimed to be more on trend via efforts like the recent move to only use cage-free eggs for the mayo and mayo dressing sold in the U.S.

The Sir Kensington deal is expected to close in the next few weeks. Unilever said co-founders Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton will continue in their roles at the company.

Other recent Big Food deals for smaller rivals have included Conagra’s recent purchase of Duke’s meat snacks brand and General Mills’ deal for meat snack maker EPIC Provisions. A number of Big Food makers—including General Mills, Kellogg and Campbell Soup —have also set up venture-capital arms to invest in food startups.

But Unilever is in a different position as it spurned a gigantic $143 billion merger offer from Kraft Heinz in late February and as a result, is now under pressure from shareholders to prove that it has a strategy in place to go it alone. Unilever, which earlier on Wednesday touted a “strong start” to 2017, is also weighing the sale of some of the company’s food brands that fall under its spreads business. Some Wall Street analysts have speculated that Kraft Heinz may come back to Unilever with an offer for just the food/beverage portfolio, which includes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Talenti gelato, and now—Sir Kensington’s.

By John Kell

Source: Fortune

comments closed

Related News

November 27, 2022

Cargill to appoint Brian Sikes as president and CEO

Food & Drink

Cargill will appoint Brian Sikes as its president and chief executive officer on 1 January 2023. The soon-to-be CEO, currently holding the chief operating officer title, has worked at Cargill for 31 years. Dave MacLennan, who has served as Cargill’s CEO since 2013, will assume the role of executive chair of the company’s board of directors.

November 27, 2022

Wellness, self-expression drive the latest trends in colors and flavors

Food & Drink

Comforting colors, feel-good flavors, and unique food and beverage experiences will resonate most with consumers in the new year, according to ADM’s latest Flavor and Color Outlook. ADM anticipates that 2023 will be the year of self-expression, and the company identified four trends that are sure to stand out.

November 27, 2022

Nespresso unveils home-compostable coffee capsules in partnership with Huhtamaki

Food & Drink

Nestlé’s Nespresso brand will pilot home-compostable coffee capsules on the Nespresso Original system in France and Switzerland from spring 2023 before further launches in several other European countries within a year. The paper-based capsules are touted as a breakthrough in packaging technology after three years of R&D.