Second Nature Brands acquires Brownie Brittle

Second Nature Brands, controlled by CapVest Partners LLP, has completed the acquisition of Brownie Brittle from Encore Consumer Capital. The terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Founded in 2012, Brownie Brittle is a category-defining brownie snack brand with an expanding roster of retail relationships across all formats and merchandising positions, including club stores, grocery, mass market retailers, convenience stores, specialty retail and airlines.

With a heritage spanning over 140 years, US-based Second Nature Brands is a leader in the fast-growing snacks and treats market, focusing on the nutritional and lifestyle needs of health-conscious consumers. Its brands comprise Kar’s Nuts, Second Nature Snacks, and Sanders.

Commenting on the deal, Victor Mehren, CEO of Second Nature Brands, said: “We have ambitious plans to become a US leader in snacks and treats and the acquisition of Brownie Brittle is an exciting step on this journey, which expands our presence into baking and unlocks a new growth stream for us.

“It also marks our first acquisition since being acquired by our majority investor CapVest, showing how with their support we intend to grow and develop Second Nature Brands through continued investment in the brand, channel & category expansion, as well as continued focus on product quality.”

Othmane Khelladi, partner at CapVest, added: “Brownie Brittle is a fantastic addition to the Second Nature Brands portfolio and a great first step in our plan to transform the business into a highly diversified US snacking platform. We are thrilled to support Second Nature Brands in their next phase of growth and to work with the team to expand their portfolio into adjacent and complimentary snacking categories.”

Jan Grywczynski, CEO of Brownie Brittle, said: “This announcement is a very positive reflection on our business, our people and the strength of the Brownie Brittle brand. Second Nature Brands was attracted by the incredible growth that Brownie Brittle has demonstrated historically, as well as strong brand value and great product quality.

“We are very excited about this new chapter for Brownie Brittle, as part of the Second Nature Brands family, and look forward to working with Victor and the rest of the Second Nature team to accelerate our growth as a leader in thin, sweet, permissibly indulgent snacking.”

Pernod Ricard to invest €238m to build carbon neutral distillery in Kentucky

Pernod Ricard has announced a significant move to further leverage the growth of its premium American whiskey portfolio, The American Whiskey Collective with a €238 million ($250 million) investment over five years to build a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral distillery and aging warehouses in Marion County, Kentucky, for its Jefferson’s Bourbon brand. The investment will also include the build of a world class visitor center facility that will welcome whiskey aficionados on the historic South Trail of Kentucky Bourbon. Pernod Ricard intends for this new distillery to be carbon neutral once operational. The facility is also expected to be the first distillery of its size in the U.S. to achieve LEED certification, an internationally recognized sustainability framework for healthy, efficient, carbon and cost-saving environmentally friendly buildings. The distillery and warehouses will include such low carbon technologies as electrode boilers powered by certified renewable electricity, enabling the distillery to not use fossil fuels during bourbon production. In addition, as part of Pernod Ricard’s commitment to protect and nurture the terroir surrounding its facilities, Jefferson’s will continue to partner with local farmers and suppliers to source ingredients and casks. “American whiskey is an extremely vibrant spirits category, and our strategic investments over the last few years have proven successful,” said Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard. “Our philosophy of partnering with entrepreneurial brand founders, while preserving the heritage and terroir associated with the brands they created, has made us an established player in premium American Whiskey. Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller is no exception. “This new investment will allow us to grow our share of category sales not only in the U.S., but also in export markets.” Ann Mukherjee, chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard North America, said: “The new distillery will enable Jefferson’s to efficiently keep up with very strong consumer demand while staying true to the company’s longstanding commitment to sustainability. “Our company is an agricultural company at its core and so it is vital that we lead the category forward – in partnership with our farmers and growers – and remain committed to the long-term sustainability of our people, our industry and our planet. This investment is the latest illustration of that belief.”

New protein bar development benefits from Winkworth’s High Shear Mixer

In preparation for the launch of a new protein bar ready-to-mix product, Winkworth, the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of industrial mixing and blending machinery, has recently worked with a leading whey ingredient supplier to strengthen their capabilities within the category. With the growth in protein bar retail value expected to double in the coming years to 14% CAGR (2019-2023), the customer needed a pilot size mixer that could conduct trials during their development phase to replicate large scale industrial production methods. The customer’s bakery mixers, used for similar pilots, were not able to mix the dense ingredients of whey protein isolate and dairy proteins sufficiently to be effective. The company required a high torque kneading and folding mixer that could effectively mix 5kg batches. Winkworth recommended their stainless steel MZ10 high shear mixer, which is ideal for mixing, kneading and blending of dense materials for development. Featuring twin heavy duty Z blades and a manually operated hydraulic tilting mechanism, the 10 litre capacity of Winkworth’s range of laboratory and pilot mixers are small enough to reduce waste, yet large enough to be representative of production reality. This accurate representation of production performance typically provides a scalable outcome prior to full capital investment. “Throughout this smooth process we had good support from Winkworth – the mixer is ideal for our requirements and is delivering what we hoped for,” commented Winkworth’s customer. “We are frequently showing the mixer to our customers who, like us, are very impressed with its capabilities.” “The MZ10 is ideal in this case,” added Winkworth’s technical director, Tim Simpson. “Being able to mix small batches means that it is perfect for pilot studies and trials, and with its high torque capability it’s more than capable of mixing dense material. Of course, once the pilot has successfully concluded, we can provide customers production scale mixers up to 1500 litres batch volumes as required, and larger on request. For the protein/energy bar market specifically, several companies have adopted our larger scale Winkworth Z Blade production mixers, which have proved ideal.” Winkworth has been designing and manufacturing world-class industrial mixers, paddle mixers and blenders since 1924. Used for mixing doughs, powders, creams, batters, pastes, sludges, slurries and granules for all industries, Winkworth supply mixing machinery all over the world. Their product range includes: Z Blade, Extruder, Ploughshare, Twin shaft, Ribbon, Double Cone Blenders, Paste Feeders, Process Vessels, Homogenisers and vacuum dryers for use in a wide variety of industries. All their industrial mixers are designed and wholly made in the UK and can be manufactured to suit any ATEX requirements, include CE markings and are manufactured in accordance to their ISO 9001 accreditation. For further information on Winkworth’s range of laboratory and pilot mixers, or any other product in their portfolio, contact Winkworth on +44 (0)1256 305 600, visit, or email

Trade snapshot shows continued growth for UK food and drink exports

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Q3 Trade snapshot shows the growth of British exports is continuing to rise in countries set for ambitious UK trade deals. Strong export growth continues this quarter, with exports 23.2% higher than in Q3 2021, as exports to both EU and non-EU markets increased substantially. Sales to the EU are up nearly 18% and approaching pre-pandemic levels. While rising prices have increased the value of UK exports, volumes also continue to grow. This can be attributed to soaring demand for UK food and drink in certain EU member states and rapid growth further afield, including in the UAE, Singapore and India, driven by increasing demand for quality British products such as gin and cheese. The FDF’s Trade Snapshot examines latest developments in UK exports and imports of food and drink in the third quarter of 2022. Key findings include:
  • Food and drink exports have seen significant growth in EU countries led by Italy (42%), Spain (52%) and the Netherlands (35%). Non-EU markets set for new or improved trade deals with the UK have also seen a significant boost in UK exports, with the UAE (41%), Singapore (20%) and South Korea (35%) all seeing strong growth compared to 2021.
  • Rising demand for quality UK food and drink in Malaysia saw exports growing by 38% and the UK’s planned accession to CPTPP would support further growth by cutting tariffs facing UK exporters.
  • The majority of the UK’s top products have seen strong growth compared to 2021, with exports of gin and cheese up 41% and 40% respectively by value and 35% and 20% by volume.
  • Imports from non-EU countries continue to see strong growth, up 14% compared to 2021, and over 23% compared to pre covid levels as businesses diversify their sourcing of key inputs.
Exports to South Korea are showing strong growth as businesses benefit from preferential access via the continuity free trade agreement. An updated FTA could boost UK exports even further, through simpler and more generous rules of origin and cutting the cost and burdens of trade documentation. A recent good example of streamlining movements of goods at the border and cutting the cost of trade is the new UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), which came into force in June 2022. This pioneering agreement will help to reduce costs, complexity and delays at the border, which is particularly important for trade in perishable food and drink due to the limited shelf lives of products. The Food and Drink Federation’s Head of International Trade Dominic Goudie said: “These figures demonstrate that the appetite for British food and drink continues to grow around the world, with exports up in both EU and non-EU countries. Defra and the Department for International Trade are taking important steps to boost support available to our food and drink exporters. “As set out in our recent trade and investment strategy, we are keen to work in close partnership with all UK governments to take forward practical recommendations utilising all of the tools in the UK’s trade policy to drive further growth in our sector.” Food & Drink Exporters Association Director Nicola Thomas said: “We are very heartened to see substantial growth in exports to the EU in Q3 which reflects our members’ determination to find new and workable trading and logistics solutions. We have also witnessed renewed interest from EU buyers at trade shows such as SIAL who are proactively seeking British brands for their world-leading quality and innovation. “In non-EU countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, our Asian in-market partners are also seeing distributor demand for an increasingly broad range of categories, with non-alcoholic drinks, dairy, plant-based and health food topping their shopping lists.”

Duppy Share Rum secures £2m investment

Duppy Share, the London-based Caribbean rum brand, has just completed a fundraising round of £2 million, recruiting a new set of investors. The diverse shareholder base includes British billionaire investor Jim Mellon, the Irish horse racing Magnier family and UK energy entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. Joining them to back the company are well-known personalities including ex-professional footballer Ian Wright and Fraser T Smith, one of the UK’s most prolific music producers. The new set of Duppy Share Rum shareholders join an experienced team including a veteran board of advisors and management, along with Duppy Share White Rum co-founder, UK musical pioneer and top boy actor, Kano. Duppy Share Rum founder, George Frost explains that the money will be used for “Growth – UK volume and export sales. Most importantly though to get rum in to as many people’s hands as possible. That’s always been the aim.” And on export? “We’re looking to smash our sales targets for this year and then start our fundraise to conquer US in April.” George Frost, the son of broadcasting legend Sir David Frost, founded Duppy Share Rum seven years ago and this year they will sell over 500,000 bottles or “just shy of 1,500,000 shots” as he puts it. Duppy Share is now the top selling premium rum in the UK. Following in the footsteps of vodka and tequila, rum is fast becoming the spirit of choice across the UK, echoed by the interest shown from a wide range of investors in Duppy Share’s latest round of fundraising. Rum is the last major spirits category to go through a period of premiumisation and rapid growth – this process begun in 2017 and is gathering pace, with the Global Rum category forecast to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% to 2026, with premium rum growing at 11.1%. Duppy Share Rum has had a sustained rate of growth at a CAGR of 87% over three years and has a revenue of £6.25 million. Duppy Share Rum is now trading in 18 territories including Australia, France, Germany and Italy. Duppy Share has been the official rum of Notting Hill Carnival for six years in a row. Duppy Share predicts 10% growth in the UK from 2022-2023 and is aiming to gain a total of eight SKU listings in the UK’s top seven grocers from 2023-2025, along with the launch of Duppy Share XO and White in Australia. Duppy Share aims to scale rapidly from 40,000 9L cases (the equivalent to 500,000 bottles) to 100,000 9L cases by 2024. Duppy Share also plans to expand its range with further expressions over the next few years, along with building distribution in European markets, Asia and building market entry for the US. “If I think back to the beginning, when I had to persuade the 3 Fs (Friends, Family and Fools) that the rum revolution was coming, I was met with quite the reaction, from ‘surely you mean Gin’ to ‘but you don’t even run!’ If you had told me then that we would be where we are now – well, even my totally blind, naive and crazed optimism would not have equipped me to take you seriously,” says George Frost. Frost is clearly proud of getting all these investors on board. “This isn’t my proudest moment though; not even close. I’ve been a superfan of Kano’s for as long as I can remember. He posted a bottle of Duppy five years ago on social media – I got on the next train to Manchester where he was playing a gig at the Academy. I left an ocean of rum with him and left him and his crew to it. We kept talking and then in lockdown I called him and said – come on mate – let’s do it, let’s do Duppy White. “He called me back the next day. He didn’t mention a fee or a commercial deal in any shape or form. He had two requests. The first – that the entire process, bottle, label, liquid was all to be 100% decided by him. The second – that it had to be the best white tasting rum out there. “The first ask – he’s the most creative, intelligent, perceptive and meticulous person I’ve ever met – it was a resounding yes. The second – I knew we could deliver. And deliver we did, as it’s just received the award for the best White Rum in the UK.” Commenting on the success of Duppy White, Kano says: “For me, whatever I do has to be the real deal. This drink comes from me. This is my life, my family’s story inside this bottle, and wrapped around this bottle. This is something I believe in and genuinely love as a product. That was a major thing for me, creating something that I would like to buy myself, drink myself. “I’ve been going out of my way to test it with family members and friends to see if they feel the same. People really, really enjoy it. Some people that don’t even drink rum, or it’s not their thing – they drink it and they’re a fan. It’s been a fun experience getting friends and family and peers to taste it. I can’t wait for the whole world to get their hands on it.”

Step forward for UK’s largest fresh pasta manufacturing facility

Construction company Clegg Food Projects has been appointed as principal contractor to deliver the UK’s largest fresh pasta manufacturing facility for booming direct to consumer fresh pasta brand Pasta Evangelists. Located in Park Royal in central London, the project – which is the former Jack Wills head office and warehouse – will see the food and drink construction specialists convert the building into a high-care fresh pasta and sauce facility. The project comes after a period of successful growth for Pasta Evangelists, as demand for its products rises and it expands into new channels following its sale to Barilla in 2021. Clegg Food Projects will oversee the design and build of the new internal space, with plans to install state-of-the-art equipment that will transform the current warehouse into a high-end commercial food processing, packaging and storage facility with distribution space. Oliver Jenkins, business development manager at Clegg Food Projects, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Pasta Evangelists – it is an exciting company with some ambitious growth plans. “The new facility will undergo a transformation into a best in class high-care food manufacturing facility along with advanced processing packaging and distribution. “The demolition has now started, and we are set up onsite. We are working closely with Pasta Evangelists and the rest of the team on the first stages, with the new facility set to complete next year.” Pasta Evangelists was famously turned down by Dragon’s Den in 2018 but has since gone from strength to strength. After a period of rapid growth, the company now has a large customer base up and down the UK, delivering more than one million portions of pasta last year. Alessandro Savelli, founder and Managing Director at Pasta Evangelists, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Clegg Food Projects to build the UK’s biggest fresh pasta factory. The plan from the outset has been to design the site with innovation in mind, so we can start experimenting with even more exciting, differentiated flavours and gourmet ingredients to delight and inspire our customers. “By investing in the latest pasta and cooking technology from Italy, we will be able to enhance the quality of our recipes and create a real step-change in our mission to redefine and elevate pasta in the UK. We can’t wait to get started!”

Fonterra and Nestlé partner on ambition to create New Zealand’s first net zero carbon emissions dairy farm

Fonterra and Nestlé have announced a new partnership designed to help reduce New Zealand’s on-farm emissions, including a New Zealand first – a drive to develop a commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm.
Over the five year project the farm, run with co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki, will examine all aspects of farm operations to reduce carbon with the aim of cutting emissions by 30% by mid 2027, and a 10 year ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions.
The demonstration farm at the centre of the project is a 290 hectare property surrounding Fonterra’s Whareroa site. Dairy Trust Taranaki will work with Fonterra and industry partners to reduce total emissions on the farm, including methane, with successful solutions also being good for the farmer, good for the cow and good for the milk. Lessons learned and activities will be shared through open days with farmers, who can then adopt the techniques and technologies most appropriate for their own farms. The practices must be economically viable and practical for farmers to adopt. Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says the collaboration will help both Fonterra and Nestlé accelerate progress towards their greenhouse gas emission goals. “New Zealand already provides some of the most sustainable nutrition in the world through its pasture-based dairy system. This new partnership will look at ways to further reduce emissions, increasing the country’s low-emissions advantage over the rest of the world. “Part of our strategy is to lead in sustainability and we aspire to be net zero by 2050. We know we will make bigger gains, for both the Co-op and country, by partnering with others. Working with partners such as Nestlé is our best opportunity to create innovative solutions to local and global industry challenges. “As well as our own goals, it’s important we help our customers achieve theirs. Nestlé has ambitious plans and we look forward to working together to discover systems that could help our farmer owners to continue to build on the already good base they have.” Nestlé New Zealand CEO Jennifer Chappell said the Taranaki farm would build on Nestlé’s work around the world to help transform the dairy industry. “Dairy is our single biggest ingredient, and our vision is that the future for dairy can be net zero. To reduce our Scope 3 emissions, it’s critical we work with dairy farmers and their communities. For this reason, we have over 100 pilot projects with partners around the world, including in New Zealand, and 20 farms already striving towards the ambition of net zero emissions,” Ms Chappell said. “Working towards a net zero farm means looking at all aspects of the farm, from cow nutrition to sequestering carbon. We will share what we learn on the journey across the dairy industry, with the goal of ultimately mainstreaming on-farm practices that will reduce the climate impact of the dairy industry.” “This will contribute to Nestlé meeting our goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including reducing our emissions by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030,” Ms Chappell said. The partnership between Fonterra and Nestlé also encompasses the launch of a greenhouse gas farmer support pilot programme. This multi-year project will see enrolled Fonterra supplying farms get additional support to implement changes aimed at lowering their on-farm emissions, which could include solutions such as improved management of feed and pasture and enhanced milk production efficiency. The opt-in pilot will start with around 50 farms and then be scaled up over the next three years.

New chairman gets ready to bat for PPMA

PPMA Group of Associations has announced the appointment of James Causebrook as chairman at its annual lunch in Lords Cricket Ground. James Causebrook, Managing Director at Grunwald UK, was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018, and has held the vice-chairman role throughout 2022. With over 15 years of valuable experience in business, James is sure to hit the ground running, he knows what it takes to lead a team and exceed its targets; however, the new year will see him firmly in the crease as the new chairman of PPMA. As the out-going chair, David Barber bowls his last over, James and the PPMA would like to reflect on the outstanding job that David has done in the last two years, facing unprecedented challenges, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. David was elected to the PPMA board of directors in 2017, and appointed as PPMA chairman in 2020, well-known for implementing successful projects and reaching target objectives. David’s experience and cool head allowed PPMA to weather the harshest of storms and adversity through those lockdown years, and against all odds he saw PPMA grow its membership and help plan for its future. David’s background aligns strongly with the PPMA’s ethos, and his chairmanship has had a strong impact on staff and members alike. David held that digital technology would have a greater role to play in how the Group engages with its members and the positive impact it can have on business efficiencies, going on to say: “The world is changing, business is changing, and we need to make sure that the PPMA Group of Associations is equipped and flexible in its approach to serve all those it supports.” It was a recipe for success. In September 2022 PPMA Total Show 2022 went ahead and was a resounding hit amongst exhibitors and visitors alike. David had ensured that the show was back on track, a truly great achievement. Using the infostructure that David has helped to put in place, the new chair will be looking to hone the efforts of PPMA members and staff to ensure that the association continues to offer members the valuable support needed for them to sell products and services, all the while encouraging new, and existing members to take full advantage of their membership. James Causebrook, PPMA chairman, said: “David has helped the association through some of its toughest moments, moments none of us will forget, so I will be looking to continue that good work with another successful show in 2023 and equally successful publications. I believe that our members want an association that speaks up for them and is there to help them improve their business, so building vital links and connections with our affiliate partners will be of paramount importance.” Out-going PPMA chairman, David Barber also said: “James will be a fantastic chairman, having worked closely with him over these last two years developing future strategy, he brings a continuity of leadership in his own unique style. I am totally confident he will continue to build the strategy and deliver strong execution closely aligned to generating greater member benefits and value whilst serving the wider needs of the industries our members serve. “As deputy chairman I will continue to work closely with the PPMA Group of Associations, supporting James, the Board of Directors and the PPMA executive to ultimately fulfil its vision and mission, support our members to sell more products and services.” For more information about the association or the directors visit

Business behind IRN-BRU, Rubicon and Funkin acquires functional drinks company

A.G. BARR, which produces and markets some of the UK’s best known drinks brands including IRN-BRU, Rubicon and Funkin, has acquired Boost, an established branded drinks business, for an initial consideration of £20 million. The business is being acquired from Boost founder Simon Gray and his wife Alison. The management team, led by Simon Gray, will continue to lead the business, operating within the A.G. BARR group as a standalone business unit. On top of the initial consideration of £20 million, the deal involves an additional consideration of up to £12 million, dependent on future revenue and profitability performance of the Boost business over a two year period from completion. The Boost brand, founded in 2001, primarily operates in the high growth functional beverage category spanning energy, sport and protein, with a strong market position in the UK independent retail channel. For the year ended 31 December 2021, Boost’s unaudited statutory revenue and profit before tax were £42.1 million and £1.9 million respectively with gross assets of £12.5 million. Roger White, Chief Executive Officer, A.G. BARR, said: “Today’s announcement is further evidence of our strategy to continue to grow the business through targeted acquisitions, with a particular focus on developing within high growth and functional categories. “Boost is one of the UK’s most recognisable functional drinks brands, and we are delighted to welcome the team into the A.G. BARR Group. The Boost portfolio offers premium taste and performance at a competitive price, with a strong market position in the UK independent retail channel. “With A.G. BARR’s proven track record of acquiring and developing attractive brands such as Rubicon and Funkin, I look forward to working with Simon and the team to ensure Boost continues to grow and develop under our ownership.” Simon Gray, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Boost Drinks, said: “I’m hugely excited to embark on the next phase of Boost’s growth with A.G. BARR. Over the past 20 years Boost has proven its popularity with consumers who want great tasting, high performing functional drinks that offer great value for money and I am sure that as part of the A.G. BARR Group we will maintain our strong growth trajectory.”

ichiban invests in Europe’s largest rice cooker

A UK producer of authentic Japanese sushi, ichiban, has invested in Europe’s largest rice cooker with the support of a seven-figure loan provided by Lloyds Bank. Stowmarket-headquartered Ichiban has used the £1 million funding package to purchase a state-of-the-art commercial rice cooker that will enable the business to cook the rice needed for its sushi more quickly, efficiently, and sustainably. The new kit can cook 300 kilograms of rice every hour and produces perfectly cooked rice that further improves the quality of the product. ichiban produces more than 500,000 packs of own label and branded sushi each week for its customer base which comprises many of the UK’s leading retailers and supermarkets, including Tesco, Boots and Aldi. The business typically cooks around 900 tonnes of rice every year and expects this to increase to over 1000 tonnes each year following the recent investment. Founded in 2005, the business has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years and now has an annual turnover of £32 million. Lloyds has been actively supporting ichiban for over 7 years, led by Lloyds Bank’s relationship director Michael Adams. ichiban, which means ‘number one’ in Japanese, employs more than 450 people at its site in Stowmarket. The firm’s manufacturing process, which only uses fish and seafood from approved sources, is completed entirely in Suffolk. Andrew Wilkinson, Managing Director, ichiban, said: “We’ve enjoyed substantial growth in recent years as more and more people have discovered the appeal of eating sushi. But to maintain this trajectory, and increase our capacity for further expansion, we needed to invest in new larger scale and more efficient cooking equipment. “The finance package we’ve received from Lloyds Bank has enabled us to do just that, and this investment will be transformational for our business.” Matt Hubbard, Lloyds Banking Group’s East of England Ambassador, said: “We have some excellent food and agricultural businesses in Suffolk and ichiban is a great example of a successful local business that is expanding. “I was delighted to see the new rice cooker being installed, and come back to see it now it’s up-and-running. ichiban has a strong reputation for quality and service that really resonates with its customers. “We will remain by the side of ichiban in the future, as we will be by other Suffolk and UK based businesses that need our support.”