Peppersmith makes a range of sugar-free chewing gum and mints

Two health and wellness brands owned by Tree of Life owner Health Made Easy have been sold following the collapse of the group last week, with the parent company also now placed into administration. 

Interpath Advisory – which is handling the administration of Tree of Life and sister company The Health Store – was appointed as administrator of Health Made Easy Ltd on 26 August 2022. 

Immediately following the appointment, Interpath sold the shares and associated brands of two group subsidiaries, Higher Nature and Freshly Cut, which traded as Peppersmith, to private investment firm CGK Consulting for an undisclosed amount. 

A total of 33 employees, 31 from Higher Nature and two from Freshly Cut, form part of the transaction. 

A statement from Interpath did not provide an update on the future of the two wholesale businesses – Tree of Life and The Health Store – that were placed in administration last week with the loss of 143 jobs

However, The Grocer understands talks concerning a sale of assets and intellectual property of the two health food distributors are ongoing. 

Sussex-based Higher Nature is a manufacturer and distributor of vitamin and mineral supplements, operating in the sector for more than 25 years, while Freshly Cut supplies sugar-free mints and gum under the Peppersmith brand. 

Health Made Easy – which was the UK’s largest health and wellness distributor, supplying hundreds of brands and more than 15,000 SKUs to retailers from its two Midlands DCs – bought both businesses in 2018, as well as The Health Store, to expand the group following the 2011 acquisition of Tree of Life. 

Chris Pole, Interpath Advisory MD and joint administrator of Health Made Easy, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to conclude this transaction, which safeguards the future of these market-leading businesses, as well as preserving many jobs. 

“We wish the purchaser all the very best for the future.” 

Tree of Life and The Health Store collapsed after failing to secure the financing needed to keep the group going in the face of a number of challenges in recent months, including the loss of a large customer on top of unprecedented market conditions. 

The group, which had grown sales from £34m to more than £100m over the past 10 years, had also struggled in the aftermath of Brexit, which caused problems with exporting its products to the EU, with a significant minority of revenues coming from the Irish market. 

A process to find new investors run by corporate finance firm FinnCap Cavendish ended without success earlier this year, as revealed by The Grocer last month, with the group blaming Brexit for the failure to find a buyer.