Burts Snacks sharing

Burts sales have grown rapidly in the past few years, up from £29.5m in the year ended 31 December 2017 to £68m in 2021

Burts Snacks has set out plans to supercharge its growth following a takeover by private equity-backed French own label supplier Europe Snacks this week.

MD Dave McNulty, who will continue to run Burts as a standalone business, told The Grocer the acquisition would help unlock further potential in the snacking category.

“There is a vast amount to go after that we have not quite been unable to unlock fully as we have kept needing to build capacity,” he said.

Europe Snacks, which also owns UK private label group Kolak Snack Foods, is expected to invest in boosting capacity at the factories in Plymouth and Leicester, and in ramping up innovation.

“The deal enables us to continue on the growth journey we have been on for the past few years and gives us the capability to touch into more investment in our plants and people and doing things in a better way for the environment,” McNulty added. “It also allows us to innovate more, as well as driving efficiencies in our supply chain.”

Devon-based Burts was founded in 1995 by Richard and Linda Burt, who sold hand-cooked crisps to the independent retail market.

Jitu Patel, who invested in the business in 2006, took a majority holding in 2016.

The company went on to expand its reach with the acquisition of popcorn maker Savoury & Sweet in 2017.

It also broadened the range into healthy snacks such as lentil chips, reflected in the rebrand from Burts Potato Crisps to Burts Snacks in 2019.

Revenues at Burts have grown rapidly in the past few years, up from £29.5m in the year ended 31 December 2017 to £68m in 2021.

Patel added: “I am convinced this acquisition will open up new opportunities; both businesses are complementary to each other and share deep common values.”

France’s Europe Snacks first entered the UK in 2016 thanks to a combination with co-packer Kolak, which has a long-standing relationship with the discounters. The merger created a snacking group with combined revenues of more than £200m.

It also has a significant presence in Spain following the acquisition of Grupo Ibersnacks in 2018.

The group has been owned by PE firm Apax since a 2013 buyout from IK Investment Partners.