Pippa Murray

Pippa Murray

Fast-growing natural nut butter brand Pip & Nut has secured a seven-figure cash injection to underpin its ambitious expansion plans.

The brand, launched three years ago following a crowdfunding campaign, closed a new fundraising round this month to secure more than £1m from a group of private investors.

The angel investors participating in the latest round included long-term adviser and existing investor Giles Brook, the European CEO of Vita Coco and former partner in Urban Fresh, while the brand also secured new investment from former Bulldog Skincare chairman Peter Littlewood.

Pip & Nut raised £120k on Crowdcube in 2014 before its official launch and raised a further £350k from private investors in early 2016.

The new investment will fund a renewed marketing push, focusing on digital and driving online sales, and support a significant pipeline of NPD.

The brand is on target to reach £7m sales this year after securing a batch of new listings, representing year-on-year growth of about 70%.

Tesco will roll out four nut butter jars, including an exclusive honey almond variant, across 800 stores from May.

Sainsbury’s is also expanding its Pip & Nut portfolio, and increasing its distribution by 225 stores next month.

The range, which includes eight nut butters in jars and squeeze packs and three almond milks, is now in about 5,500 stores across the UK and Europe after securing exports to Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Founder Pippa Murray is targeting revenues of £20m by 2020 as Pip & Nut steps up its production capacity. She said it had recently moved a portion of its production to the UK and co-invested with its production partner in new technology to deliver increased volumes.

“We need to make sure we fuel our growth with enough funding,” she said. “We’ve got ambitious growth targets we’re determined to hit, if not exceed, so that’s why it’s important now to be investing in people and innovation.”

Both Brook and Littlewood have recent experience of high profile exits, with Bear owner Urban Fresh bought by Lotus Bakeries at the end of 2015 and Bulldog selling out to Edgewell Personal Care in November 2016.

Murray said there was no time horizon on an exit for Pip & Nut. “At the moment there’s no expectation of when a sale will be, we’re very much focusing on getting our heads down and making sure we fulfil everything we want to do this year and next.”

Giles Brook said the brand “is set to become a landmark food and drink brand in the coming years: “This investment marks a significant step change for Pip & Nut where they look to carve deeper inroads in the UK, launch exciting innovation into new categories and start to expand the brand overseas.”