Elaine Watson Dairy Crest has moved into second place in the butters and spreads market behind Unilever Bestfoods after snapping up Uniq's branded spreads division in an #86.5m deal. Chief executive Drummond Hall claimed the deal, adding Utterly Butterly, St Ivel Gold, Vitalite, Carapelli olive oil spreads and Golden Churn to the Dairy Crest stable, puts it neck and neck with Arla Foods Fonterra with 25% of the market by volume compared with Unilever Bestfoods' 28%. However, Dairy Crest was now the clear leader in the growing taste' sector of the market, comprising butter, spreadable butter and dairy spreads, he added. "We are the only manufacturer able to supply customers with major brands across all sectors of the market. This presents lots of opportunities in category management." Although Dairy Crest recently launched an olive oil based spread called Argento, there will be no duplication with the purchase of the Carapelli brand, positioned at the premium end of the market, said Hall. "The new brands complement our existing ones. They each have a very distinctive consumer and trade proposition." Although Utterly Butterly had been performing well, the new brands would benefit from being part of a company with a stronger overall position in the branded market, he said. "We have a very strong track record of managing brands." The St Ivel name, acquired as part of the deal for use across all juice and some dairy categories, still had a lot of brand equity, and could be used as an umbrella name on milk or cream in future, he added. Although the deal was about building Dairy Crest's branded and added value business, there would be "modest" synergies in distribution, marketing and central administration, said Hall. {{NEWS }}