Source: Cheesies

Protein snacking challenger The Curators has acquired popped cheese startup Cheesies – in a deal buoyed by dairy supplier Yeo Valley.

The acquisition for an undisclosed sum will see The Curators grow its portfolio of high-protein, low-carb and keto-friendly snacks. Cheesies uses nothing but cheese, which is dried and then baked to create bitesize pieces.

Launched in 2019 by former Innocent employees David Folkman and Craig Jones, the brand offers five variants – Cheddar, Emmental, Gouda, Red Leicester and Goat’s Cheese – in 20g and 60g bags.

They will join The Curator’s lineup of meat and veggie snacks, which include its original Beef Biltong, Pork Puffs and recently added Veggie Puffs made from peas.

The brand – which made its retail debut in 2018 – was “incredibly excited to push forward with our growth plans” said co-founder Max Rees. “Bringing Cheesies into our portfolio gives us even more opportunity to drive our vision of supercharging savoury snacking.”

There were “a number of synergies between the two businesses”, he added. “We are looking forward to building on the strong online momentum they have achieved, while using our experience to accelerate growth plans for the range in retail.”

In a LinkedIn post, Cheesies’ Jones announced he was “bowing out” of the business following its acquisition.

“There were obvious synergies between the two businesses right from the outset when we started talking,” he wrote. “We’re undoubtedly stronger together. It’s a surreal feeling to hand over the keys to something that you’ve built over the course of three years.”

Having worked closely with Rees and his partner Edward Hauck in recent months, Jones had “every confidence in their ability to take Cheesies forward”, he added.

An out of office email response from Folkman read: “Cheesies has been acquired by The Curators and I am no longer working here.”

As part of the deal, Yeo Valley’s venture fund, Yeo Valley Associates, has invested a “six-figure sum” in the newly combined business to accelerate its growth plans.

Yeo Valley CEO Tom Wright said he was “excited” for The Curators “to lead Cheesies into its next stage of growth” and to “support them to capitalise on the synergies across both brands”.