LONDON, 22 August 2023 - Exponent today announces that it has reached an agreement to sell a portion of its stake in Meadow, a leader in sustainable dairy, confectionery and plant-based ingredients, to Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (‘Fairfax Financial’), a holding company headquartered in Canada.
Meadow partners with the world’s leading food manufacturers to solve their most complex challenges and supplies the crucial ingredients in many of the UK’s favourite brands. The company employs over 500 people across five sites in the UK (Chester, Peterborough, Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Dolgellau and Headcorn).
Building on its strong track record in identifying category-leading businesses under family ownership, Exponent acquired a significant stake in Meadow alongside the Chantler family in 2018. The family and Exponent will retain a stake in the business following the sale.
Under Exponent’s ownership, Meadow has expanded its production footprint and product set via sustained organic growth and strategic acquisitions. Key milestones in recent years include entering the plant-based category through the construction of a segregated plant based dairy facility in Chester and entering the inclusions and sweet sauces categories through the acquisitions of Nimbus Foods and Naked Foods.
Sustainability has been at the heart of Exponent’s strategy in working with Meadow. The business has become a market leader for sustainability in the dairy industry, partnering with farmers to reduce the carbon footprint of its raw materials inputs, targeting net zero operational sites by 2030 and to be fully net zero by 2050. With Exponent’s support, Meadow has re-set the work it does with farmers to reduce carbon emissions and help them prioritise biodiversity. The efforts have resulted in a 21% reduction in CO2e emissions per kilo of milk since 2018. Meadow’s suppliers are now producing milk which is 63% less carbon-intensive than the global average and 15% less carbon-intensive than the UK average.
Mark Taylor, Partner at Exponent, said: “When we invested in Meadow, we recognised the opportunity to support the business in its transformation from a commodity dairy player to a diversified speciality food ingredients supplier, building on our experience in the sector with the likes of Quorn Foods and Loch Lomond. Over the course of our partnership, the business has generated significant organic and inorganic growth, including four bolt-on acquisitions, and accelerated its shift into more value-added ingredients. It is a trusted partner to the world’s largest food and beverage companies. We are delighted to have played a key role in Meadow’s successful journey to date, and we wish the team well as the business prepares for its next phase of growth.”
Raj Tugnait, CEO at Meadow, said: “We are proud of the strong growth achieved since partnering with Exponent, and I’m delighted that Meadow has seen interest from a solid financial institution like Fairfax. The alignment of Fairfax’s culture and values and our shared vision for growth and innovation resonated with me personally. It is business as usual for our customers and Fairfax is the ideal long-term partner for Meadow’s journey ahead.”