Snyder's-Lance takes full ownership of UK popcorn business Metcalfe's Skinny

By Vince Bamford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Metcalfe's will join a brands stable that includes Cape Cod and Snyder's of Hanover
Metcalfe's will join a brands stable that includes Cape Cod and Snyder's of Hanover

Related tags: Popcorn

Snyder's-Lance has acquired the remaining shares in UK popcorn business Metcalfe's Skinny Limited – just months after taking a minority stake.

Snyder’s-Lance subsidiary Kettle Foods bought a 26% stake​ from Metcalfe’s Skinny in January, and has today (September 1) announced it is completing its acquisition of the business by acquiring the remaining 74% interest.

Kettle Foods bought its initial stake in Metcalfe’s just a few weeks before Kettle joined Snyder’s-Lance as part of its acquisition of Diamond Foods​.

The Metcalfe’s deal gives Snyder’s-Lance a major presence in one of the UK’s fastest-growing snack food categories. According to Nielsen data, the UK popcorn market has soared 45% over the past two years [MAT July 16, 2016].

International expansion 

Snyder’s-Lance president and chief executive officer Carl E Lee Jr said he saw “tremendous growth​” in the UK and opportunities for further international expansion for Snyder’s-Lance snacking brands. 

This addition to our branded portfolio provides us with another better-for-you option in a growth snacking category in the European markets​,” he stated.

News of the deal comes just weeks after Snyder’s-Lance said microwave popcorn would be a focus for the business in the US as it looks to reinvigorate the Pop Secret brand​ it acquired as part of Diamond Foods this year.

Snyder’s-Lance added that the addition of the premium popcorn brand to UK leading premium chip brand Kettle Chips reflected the ambition of Kettle Foods to evolve into a more widely based premium snacking business in Europe.

Further brand development

Describing Metcalfe’s Skinny Popcorn as “an incredibly innovative premium brand​”, Kettle Foods managing director Ashley Hicks said the deal gave an opportunity to develop the brand further.

Metcalfe’s Skinny was created in 2009 by Julian Metcalfe, who was also the co-founder of the Pret A Manger and Itsu dining out chains, in a bid to offer a lighter alternative to unhealthy snacks. Products in the current Metcalfe’s line-up include popcorn, popcorn crisps, popcorn thins and ricecakes.

"We are delighted about the opportunity for the Metcalfe's skinny brand to expand with the support and expertise of the Kettle Foods and Snyder's-Lance organization​,” said previous Metcalfe’s Skinny owners Julian Metcalfe and Robert Jakobi.

This is a unique opportunity to bring our snacking talents together under one roof to truly give Metcalfe's Skinny the international opportunity it deserves,​” they added.

US firms eye UK snacks

Metcalfe’s is the second UK snacks business to be targeted by a US firm in recent weeks.

Last month, SkinnyPop popcorn owner Amplify Snack Brands announced it is to acquire UK potato chips business Tyrrells​, which also has a presence in categories including vegetable crisps, premium popcorn and organic crisps and snacks, and exports to more than 37 countries.

Amplify said the acquisition will give opportunities to take SkinnyPop into markets where Tyrrells operates, including Europe and Australia.

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