UK alt-milk entrepreneur buys two plant-based snacks, launches Nurture Brands

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Plant-based food entrepreneur Ben Arbib has formed Nurture Brands from a JV of two better-for-you UK snack brands. Pic: ©GettyImages/yasuhiroamano
Plant-based food entrepreneur Ben Arbib has formed Nurture Brands from a JV of two better-for-you UK snack brands. Pic: ©GettyImages/yasuhiroamano

Related tags: M&A, New product development, plant-based, Plant-based foods, Fruit crisps, Vegetables, Sweet potato, Uk

The founder of Rebel Mylk acquired London-based Ape Snacks, which produces rice-based puffs and coconut snacks, and fruit and vegetable chips startup Emily Crisps, creating a new snacking company.

The new company will operate under the name Nurture Brands Limited with headquarters in the Farringdon neighborhood of London, led by Bev Morton – a former Mars Confectionery executive. Together, the brands will further develop their presence in the market, especially through new products, spokesperson Adam Draper told BakeryandSnacks.

The business owners of both snack brands were looking for investors, he added. Entrepreneur Ben Arbib - who launched the coconut-based food company Rebel Kitchen in 2014 - scooped up Emily Crisps shortly after buying Ape Snacks. He renamed the joint venture to focus on its comprehensive plant-based mission.

Nurture aims to “make snacking a positive choice with a portfolio of plant-based snacks that deliver on quality, taste and natural goodness,”​ the company said.

Ape Snacks

Ape Snacks and Emily Crisps “are really complementary in better for you snacking,”​ added Draper.

“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to put together two really exciting, fast growing brands,” ​said Arbib, noting "both share the same the values, focusing on whole natural ingredients and great taste.”

According to Nurture, Emily Crisps has enjoyed nearly 70% year-over-year growth and won The Grocer’s New Product of the Year award last year; Ape Snacks has grown more than 100%.

Draper confirmed that Rebel Kitchen, whose coconut milks, yogurts and water are available in more than a dozen countries including the UK and Australia, will remain a separate business.

Sweet potato, coconut, oh my!

Emily Crisps

Arbib’s Rebel Kitchen line is B-corp certified and a member of 1% for the Planet. Ape Snacks also has a social mission, donating 2% of its profits to Action Against Hunger. Its staff has also committed to donating 2% of their salaries.

University student Zack Nathan created Ape Snacks in 2014. The puffs are cooked in coconut oil and tossed in coconut flour, salt and flavors like Thai chili. Other products in the company's portfolio include coconut ‘curls’ (strips of coconut tossed in cocoa and salt, and pepper and spices) and coconut ‘bites’ (coins of coconut speckled with sesame or chia seeds).

Emily Crisps makes two kinds of crunchy snacks: fruit crisps from apples, pineapple, figs and bananas, and vegetable crisps from a combination of sweet potato, carrot and beetroot, or French beans, sugar snap peas and black edamame. Founders Emily Wong and Alex Ascani had already sold a minority stake to investors in 2016.

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