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Burts Buys Savoury and Sweet

bowl of popcorn, crisps and some pink salt in the background

Burts Potato Chips has announced a deal to purchase popcorn and snacks firm Savoury & Sweet.

This is the first ever acquisition for Burts, a company which was founded in 1997, and the price has not been disclosed.

New product range

The idea behind the acquisition is apparently to allow Burts to bring more range into their portfolio, adding healthier snacking products which provide an alternative to the usual sugar, salt, and fat-rich versions.

Savoury & Sweet are based in Leicester and produce their own brand of popcorn and healthy snacks. They also provide own-label snacks for a range of UK-based retailers.

Burts’ Managing Director, David Nairn, is pleased with his company’s growth – but wants to see it continue. He said, “The Burts business has grown significantly over the last five years, from £11.4M in 2013 to an anticipated £37M – post-acquisition – for 2017. Whilst impressive, our ambition is to drive the business to over £100M in the next five years to become the UK’s biggest player within premium snacking. While organic growth of our existing operation in Plymouth is a big part of this and anticipated to reach £70M, acquisitions of like-minded and complementary businesses will help us accelerate our expansion.”

The acquisition is not the only investment that management has been making back into the company. Over £12 million has been poured into Burts over the last five years, bringing their capacity to over 200t per week and providing food jobs to 168 people so far. That figure will rise with the addition of their new premises.

Acquiring the brand

“To realise our ambitions, it was clear that we needed to expand not only our capacity but also diversify our product portfolio with new technologies and innovations,” said Nairn. “Our wish was to achieve this within Burts and extend our own capabilities rather than look at the co-packing arrangements that some of our competitors have used. We therefore needed to identify high-quality existing businesses with a similar ethos of quality as us, but which could offer different snacking expertise and format technology. Savoury & Sweet fulfils both of these aims.”

The acquisition includes the Savoury & Sweet production facility in Leicester, which has 99 people employed from food management roles to working on the factory floor. All employees at that site will be keeping their jobs, with the business simply rebranded as Burts Snacks. Office and warehouse facilities are also held within the same site.

After this, the next aim for Burts is to get their ‘Better for You’ business to £30 million. This will create more jobs in their various sites, and will hopefully allow them to triple their production after they have invested in additional lines in their existing plants. This will take place largely at the Leicester factory, with the original Plymouth factory remaining focused on the Burt’s Potato Chips brand.

“This is an exciting time for Burts,” Nairn added. “NPD is high on our agenda and we are looking forward to bringing new and exciting innovation that will challenge the current UK snack market.”

It looks like great times are ahead for the brand, with this new purchase being the first step in their plan for national domination. They are already approaching household name status, and it should not take much of a push to get there – particularly with this new addition allowing them to hit more product lines and interest more new customers.

They are a great example of a company knowing when to invest and when to hold back: growth can be too fast, as well as too slow.