Around Noon Simply Fit Food  acquisition

Around Noon CEO Gareth Chambers with Simply Fit founders Evelyn Garland and Luke Judge

Northern Irish food-to-go supplier Around Noon has acquired healthy ready meal maker Simply Fit Food in attempt to diversify its offering after the coronavirus pandemic hit the sandwich market.

Simply Fit Food, founded by Evelyn Garland and Luke Judge in 2016 in Drogheda, supplies a range of meals made from natural ingredients and plant-based power bowls in retailers across Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as operating a direct-to-consumer business.

Newry-headquartered Around Noon said the “important” and “strategically significant” acquisition gave it a footprint in the fast-growing sector.

Simply Fit Food will continue to trade under its existing brand within the Around Noon group, with Garland and Judge remaining shareholders and continuing to operate and manage the business.

Around Noon plans to invest substantially in a refresh of the Simply Fit brand and product range, including new environmentally friendly packaging. Its hopes to double revenues at the business in 12 months and create a stronger presence in supermarkets and c-stores.

Chief executive Gareth Chambers said the deal gave Around Noon a foothold in the fast-growing health foods sector.

“There is a fantastic synergy between the two companies and the opportunity to cross-sell between our respective client-bases,” he added.

“Luke and Evelyn have created a strong brand and their business shares a very similar ethos to Around Noon, as a company that is passionate about healthy food and about serving its customers. We very much look forward to working with Luke and Evelyn and to growing the business strongly together.”

Garland and Judge said: “We have watched Around Noon make a real impact in the food-to-go-space across the UK and Ireland.

“We have been so impressed by the team’s energy, drive, and ability to continuously spot trends in the market early and capitalise on them. It’s a great coming together of two very complementary businesses and we are incredibly excited about the opportunity.”

Around Noon was formed in 1989 by Sheila Chambers in her kitchen and underwent a management buyout in 2016 when Chambers partnered with food-to-go entrepreneur Howard Farquhar. The business now employs more than 300 staff.

It supplies a range of sandwiches, wraps, salads, fruit pots and coldpressed juices. It also markets bakery items from its in-house operation Sweet Things, which it acquired last year from Dublin-based owners in 2016.

Around Noon expanded its food-to-go presence in London in 2017 with the acquisition of Chef-in-a-Box, which focuses on the foodservice industry, supplying caterers, sports venues, hotels, universities and schools.