Vibrant Foods, the ethnic foods platform comprising the TRS Foods and East End Foods brands which was recently established by Exponent Private Equity, today announces that it has acquired Cofresh Snack Foods (“CSF”) for an undisclosed sum. CSF joins a growing portfolio of market-leading sector brands to further cement Vibrant Foods’ position as one of the leading producers and distributors of South Asian ethnic foods in the UK and across continental Europe.
As announced on 19 June, Vibrant Foods is a new foods platform seeking to unlock significant growth potential within the expanding ethnic foods and healthy snacking market, as health-conscious consumers look to consume more plant-based protein, including chickpeas, lentils and other pulses.
CSF is made up of two key brands; Cofresh, the number one Indian snack brand in the UK, which manufactures over 200 traditional Indian savoury products, and Eat Real, the market-leading healthy snacking company and number one ‘Free-From’ snacking brand in the UK, whose flagship products of lentil, hummus and quinoa chips focus on the free-from allergens category. Both brands enjoy an established, loyal customer base, and benefit from the growing consumer shift towards plant-based proteins found in pulse-based snacks and ingredients. As of 2019, CSF had retail sales c. £75m.
Cofresh’s product lines in the Indian snacking subsector complements the ingredients and food staples produced and sold by Vibrant Foods. The synergies between Cofresh and other businesses in the Vibrant Foods stable mean Cofresh will be able to focus on improving and expanding its offering to customers.
The popular Eat Real brand, launched in 2014, has gained significant momentum around its plant-based snacks that are free from all 14 declarable allergens and are suitable for vegan, kosher and halal diets. It is one of the UK’s fastest-growing healthier snacking brands, known for its classic and on-trend flavoured products. It is well-positioned to act as an anchor brand that drives the distribution of Vibrant Foods’ other products to the mainstream market.
Established in the UK in 1974 and now a second-generation family business, the Patel family, CSF’s selling shareholders, will be re-investing in Vibrant Foods with a minority equity stake.
Commenting on the acquisition, Priyesh Patel, shareholder and Managing Director of Cofresh Snack Foods, said: “Becoming part of Vibrant Foods is opening up an exciting new chapter in our history. There are tremendous growth opportunities for our sector, as popularity for both ethnic and healthy snacking products continues to grow. Our products are well-established in both markets, thanks to the tireless work of our employees and founders, whom I’d like to thank for their support and commitment to excellent customer experience, alongside our global suppliers and customers in the UK and abroad. Being part of a dynamic food group will allow us to accelerate our growth trajectory, maintaining and building our market-leading product offering, and helping us penetrate new markets and distribution channels.”
Rohit Samani, Chairman of Vibrant Foods, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Cofresh Snack Foods to Vibrant Foods. Its broad range of authentic and high-quality snacks complements our existing product offering of South Asian staples, and further cements our position as one of the leading South Asian foods producer in Europe. The Eat Real brand provides us with a bridgehead into a customer base of health-conscious mainstream consumers, for whom our broad range of pulses is an ideal source of plant-based protein.”
Simon Davidson, Partner at Exponent, commented: “The underlying fundamentals for the broader Free-From category are very positive, and snacks are the largest contributor to this sector. Bagged snacks, in particular, have been growing strongly, and as such Eat Real – the number one player - is positioning us in an exciting segment of the market. We look forward to working with CSF and Vibrant Foods’ management teams to realise the full potential of both brands.”