Nick Hughes, MD of Marlow Foods, which was acquired by Premier for £172m, told The Grocer that there was “hardly any grocery category” using meat which Quorn might not target, including pizzas, sandwiches and snacks.
The £95m brand will be the biggest in Premier Foods’ portfolio, and the company is promising hefty advertising and innovation investment to reposition it as a healthy product for everyone, not just veggies.
It has pledged to maintain Marlow Foods’ management and manufacturing sites. “We have
some great innovation planned and a thoroughly integrated campaign working closely with customers to identify healthy eating as well as meat-free opportunities,” said Hughes. “As far as the UK multiples, we are looking to drive growth and attract more consumers into healthy and meat-free eating.”
Quorn has achieved annual sales growth of more than 24% in the past decade and expects to become a £100m brand this year.
Stephen Bolton, Premier’s commercial director, said the acquisition - the company’s biggest to date - was “hugely” exciting. “With the current focus on healthy eating and obesity, Quorn is strongly positioned. The brand has 70% penetration, so there is a big opportunity to drive it into more households.”
Bolton admitted both companies had had a “pretty rough” year, with Premier Foods’ Worcester sauce triggering the Sudan 1 scare and Quorn being targeted in a lawsuit by US group CSPI, which claimed it could cause allergic reactions.
He said the company had fully satisfied itself there was no credibility behind the allegations before the purchase.
Kids and parents are being given a lesson in food additives by Captain Birds Eye in a new TV ad from Unilever Ice Cream and Frozen Food. The captain has adapted the alphabet for his ‘nutrition mission’ to make viewers aware of additives used in some ready meals. His alphabet card reads ‘A is for Allyl Butyrate’. The captain then adds ‘N is for not in my food’ to highlight the nutritious nature of his products.