Jamie Laing and Ed Williams of Candy Kittens

Jamie Laing and Ed Williams founded Candy Kittens in 2012

Candy Kittens, the UK sweets startup co-founded by Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, has sold a “significant” minority stake to German confectionery company Katjes Fassin.

Precise terms of the deal - or the size of the stake - were not disclosed. In a joint release, the two companies said simply that Katjes Fassin had acquired “shares” in Candy Kittens and the companies had formed a “partnership”.

Ed Williams, who founded the brand with Laing in 2012, will remain as MD and told The Grocer Candy Kittens’ existing management team retained a majority stake but that the Katjes investment was “significant”.

Williams said partnering with Katjes would allow the company to develop and grow, “whilst never losing our challenger brand mentality”.

Fassin added: “The values and visions we embody with Katjes are a perfect match for the innovative orientation of Candy Kittens. We are thrilled to partner with Jamie and Ed and to learn a lot from each other in the long term.”

Katjes vemoji sweets

Katjes does not use animal gelatine in any of its products and has been pushing its vegetarian credentials, as with this Vemoji product on sale in Germany

Katjes Fassin is the third-largest manufacturer of confectionery in Germany, and sells sweets under its main Katjes brand as well as Ahoj-Brause, Sallos and Vicks cough drops.

Its entire range is made without the use of animal gelatine and therefore vegetarian-friendly.

Katjes Fassin has taken a growing interest in startups and challenger brands in recent times, particularly through its Katjesgreenfood investment vehicle, which it has used to invest in vegan retail chain Veganz, hemp-based lemonade Hemptastic and US gluten-free muesli brand Seven Sundays.

Candy Kittens was founded by Lang and Williams in 2012 and has since grown into a sizeable challenger brand, with distribution in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Terso, Amazon and Ocado, among others.

In 2016, the company scrapped a high-profile crowdfunding campaign in favour of a £300,000 investment from a high-net worth individual, giving up around 11% of its equity.