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18 June 2020

TRS Foods and East End Foods join newly established ethnic foods platform Vibrant Foods

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TRS Foods and East End Foods (“TRS” and “East End”) today announce they are joining Vibrant Foods, a newly created ethnic foods platform. The launch of Vibrant Foods follows the acquisition of TRS and East End by Exponent in November 2019. Both companies produce a range of pulses, spices, flours and Indian food ingredients and snacks which are sold through supermarkets, independent stores and wholesale channels.

TRS and East End are both market-leading brands, enjoying strong customer loyalty and a reputation for consistently high-quality ingredients and authentic flavours. Joined together under the Vibrant Foods umbrella, they are the leading producer and distributor of South Asian ethnic foods in the UK and across continental Europe. The new platform builds a business of scale, from which both brands can continue to invest in their product range and customer service.

Rationale for creating Vibrant Foods

The combination of TRS and East End under the Vibrant Foods umbrella will unlock significant growth potential within the expanding ethnic foods market. The broader South Asian foods market is estimated to be worth between £2.5-3 billion and growing at c. 5% p.a. in the UK, thanks to immigration and relatively higher birth rates of ethnic communities as well as increasing demand for ethnic foods from mainstream consumers.

Given the strong customer identity and brand equity inherent in both TRS and East End, each will continue to operate under their respective brand names. Vibrant Foods will benefit from the attractive distribution networks that both businesses have developed through decades of providing high-quality products to independent ethnic stores as well as strong ties into the supermarket World Foods channel. As a combined entity, Vibrant Foods will leverage the complementary manufacturing and distribution channels of both businesses to focus on delivering high-quality products and customer service.

Vibrant Foods strategy

Vibrant Foods will invest in its core range of products to cater to both traditional South Asian consumers cooking from scratch as well as the growing demand for convenience-based products from a younger and more mainstream customer base. It will work closely with independent shops and increasingly with supermarkets to provide best in class service, focusing on delivery options and dedicated category management.

To take advantage of wider consumer trends, Vibrant Foods will also broaden its reach beyond traditional customers towards health-conscious consumers seeking to consume more plant-based protein including chickpeas, lentils and other pulses. To that effect, Kevin Brennan, former CEO of Quorn Foods, will be joining the board as a Non-Executive Director, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the vegan foods industry.

Vibrant Foods will also seek to bolster the organic growth opportunity with further acquisitions, using its platform to further cement its leading position within the South Asian foods market and expand into parallel ethnic food sectors of the market across the UK and Continental Europe.

Vibrant Foods will be led by a new management team brought in by Exponent to oversee the integration of TRS and East End and drive the strategy. The team has extensive experience in both ethnic and mainstream food manufacturing and distribution. Rohit Samani and Umesh Parmar, both former CEOs of Tilda Rice, have been appointed Chairman and CEO respectively. The pair has a strong track record of working together.

Other key management positions include:

  • Mark Stott, Chief Financial Officer, former CFO of Adelie Foods Group
  • Jeremy Hudson, Chief Operating Officer, former Finance Director and later CEO of Hain Daniels Group and former Managing Director at 2 Sisters Foods Group
  • Vijay Vaidyanathan, Chief Commercial Officer, previously Head of Global Business Units at Tesco and Chief Marketing Officer at Tilda

Rohit Samani, Chairman of Vibrant Foods, said: “The launch of the Vibrant Foods brand marks the culmination of years of hard work by the founders of TRS and East End. I am confident that the fantastic brands they have built will go from strength to strength as part of a larger group, underpinned by a loyal customer base and supportive trends in the ethnic foods market. During the last few months, we have seen consumers re-learning to love cooking from scratch and shop local. Although these are turbulent times, I am excited by what Vibrant Foods will achieve.”

Simon Davidson, Senior Partner at Exponent, commented: “We were attracted to invest in both the TRS and East End businesses because of their unique heritage, strong brands, and excellent product range. Vibrant Foods will build upon that foundation, investing in new product development in order to fulfil consumer desires for new and healthier foods. We look forward to working with the new management team to grow Vibrant Foods into one of the UK’s leading food businesses.”