Diamond Foods acquires stake in UK popcorn business Metcalfe’s Skinny

By Vince Bamford

- Last updated on GMT

Left to right: Kettle Chips UK MD Ashley Hicks, and Metcalfe’s Skinny co-owners Julian Metcalfe and Robert Jakobi
Left to right: Kettle Chips UK MD Ashley Hicks, and Metcalfe’s Skinny co-owners Julian Metcalfe and Robert Jakobi

Related tags Popcorn

Diamond Foods has brought a stake in UK food business Metcalfe’s Skinny Limited, owner of premium popcorn brand Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn.

San Francisco-based Diamond – owner of brands including Diamond of California, Kettle Chips  and Pop Secret – has acquired a 26% stake in the UK operation, which will continue to be run by the existing Metcalfe’s management team as an independent subsidiary.

Maximise growth potential

Metcalfe’s said the investment, which has been financed by Diamond through cash on-hand, will be used to help with “strategic and financial infrastructure to maximise the growth potential of the brand in the UK and Europe​”.

We are very excited about the opportunity to expand the Metcalfe’s Skinny brand with the support and expertise of the Kettle organization​,” said Metcalfe’s.

This is a positive step that we know will not only showcase the brand’s potential but will benefit our customers in the long term too​.”

Metcalfe’s Skinny was co-founded by Robert Jakobi and Julian Metcalfe, who was also the co-founder of the Pret A Manger and Itsu dining out chains. Value sales of sales of Metcalfe’s popcorn have grown 67.4% year on year [Nielsen 52w/e September 26, 2015], and it now has the highest share and widest national distribution amongst premium popcorn brands in the UK ready-to-eat market, claimed the manufacturer.

Better-for-you snack market

Metcalfe created Metcalfe’s Skinny in 2009 as a “lighter yet still tasty​” replacement for unhealthier snacks. Since launching into the UK’s booming popcorn market, the brand has grown to include popcorn crisps, corncakes, ricecakes and ‘Popcorn Thins’. The products are marketed in the better-for-you snack and popcorn categories, predominantly in the UK.

Among the brand’s recent launches is a ‘Cinema Sweet’ popcorn sweetened with stevia leaf extract that Metcalfe’s claims has 67% less sugar than other sweet varieties on the market.

Innovative brand

"We are very excited to acquire an interest in Metcalfe’s Skinny, which is an incredibly innovative, fast-growing, premium brand appealing to 'foodie' consumers looking for lighter great tasting snacks​,” said Kettle Chips UK managing director Ashley Hicks.

We look forward to working with the management team to support their future growth ambitions​.”

News of the deal comes weeks after the acquisition of Diamond Foods by Snyder’s-Lance moved closer with the expiration of an antitrust waiting period last month. The businesses announced last October that Snyder’s-Lance would acquire all shares in Diamond in a $1.9bn transaction.

Related topics Manufacturers Snacks Health

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