Griffith Foods is expanding its UK footprint with the acquisition of ingredient supplier The Flavourworks for an undisclosed sum. The Dorset-based business will be incorporated into Griffith Foods’ European & African division.
“The Flavourworks is a fantastic fit, ticking all the boxes in terms of strategy, capability and capacity,” Wim van Roekel, Griffith Foods’ President, Europe and Africa, told FoodNavigator.
Capacity and capabilities
Van Roekel characterised The Flavourworks as ‘a very innovative company’ that delivers ‘premium solutions’ for savoury recipe development. He said that there are a ‘lot of similarities’ between Griffith and The Flavourworks – as well as some important differences, primarily in capabilities and customer base – that make the acquisition ‘a really good match’.
“We are traditionally strong in seasonings, coating systems and sources. In this space, we see growth through convenience food solutions and healthier solutions in out-of-home and retail. That’s where we were lacking capacity. We’ve been growing really fast in the UK, to a point where it was hard to keep up with demand. So, capacity is certainly one of the areas we are looking for.”
The Flavourworks also strengthens Griffiths portfolio of food ingredient solutions, the regional lead continued. It adds butter melts, dressings and frozen sources as well as increasing the company’s capacity in key categories like marinades within the UK. Currently, Griffith’s marinades are produced in Belgium. “Post Brexit it’s important for us to have that marinade capability in in the UK.”
The marriage of Griffith’s and The Flavourwork’s expertise will boost the combined company’s innovation abilities, van Roekel continued. “That’s one of the beauties of the collaboration. We can build on the expertise that is available in both companies by combining the technology and experience and capabilities both companies bring. That allows us to deliver new solutions,” he noted, pointing to the technologies The Flavourworks leverages to maintain the shelf life of sources and dressings while keeping the flavour profile as authentic as possible.
Sales synergies and growth channels
Griffith will also benefit from complementary strengths across a number of market segments. The deal will enable Griffith to tap sales synergies and feed its own portfolio of ingredients into The Flavourworks distribution.
Van Roekel elaborated: “Our focus in the UK right now is primarily to food manufacturers that supply into retail, where The Flavourworks has a more diverse portfolio of customers, also in foodservice. We launched our Custom Culinary range two years ago for the Europe and Africa market… The capabilities that The Flavourworks has to offer are really well-suited to grow our out-of-home foodservice business.”
Indeed, out-of-home is a focus for Griffith as it works to expand its footprint in customer segments it is ‘underrepresented’ in. While the company has a presence in QSR and retail in ‘other foodservice’ van Roekel said it has a ‘very limited presence’. “We have the capabilities and knowledge but it requires a slightly different go-to-market approach. That’s where we have been adding to our portfolio. In that sense The Flavourworks is a really good fit to build capabilities.”
Griffith emphasised that this acquisition is about growth – there are ‘no plans to make any changes’ at The Flavourworks, with investment expected to accelerate at both the existing and newly acquired production facilities in the UK to support further capacity expansion.
“This is clearly a strategic acquisition. We’ve acquired The Flavourworks for the value that they bring. There are going to be opportunities for some synergies – think about supply chain, think about purchasing, think about utilising the agility of the assets that The Flavourworks brings better. The idea is to preserve the value of The Flavourworks in its current format and then we’ll progressively start to make it truly a Griffith Foods family-owned business,” van Roekel elaborated.
Griffith delivers solutions across sources, dressings, seasonings and coating systems, which comprise the company’s key product platforms. These platforms are combined with its core capabilities in food science, health and nutrition, culinary and sensory science, the European business leader told us. “That mix of product categories and capabilities is what we are going to apply to grow these customer segments.”
So, what are the company’s innovation priorities?
Van Roekel responded: “Health and nutrition first and foremost.”
The company has set the target that its portfolio in Europe and Africa will be ‘100% delicious and nutritious’ by 2027. This compares to around 42% of sales delivering a health component today. “It’s that combination that is vital – products that taste really good, continue to bring that culinary component to consumers, but are combined with health benefits.” These attributes can range from ‘taking out the baddies’ – fat, sugar and salt – to ‘adding health benefits to the proposition’.
Zooming in on segments, the company also sees significant runway for growth in alternative proteins. “Meat has always been with us in the 102 years Griffith has been in the market. We were founded in the Chicago meat district,” van Roekel reflected. “But we see a significant transition in the protein segment from meat protein to alternative protein sources. We aim to be a front-runner using our product development capabilities.
“The two key areas we are focusing on are healthy nutrition and alternative protein.”
As the company works to develop these areas it is adjusting its innovation strategy, moving away from a focus on tailor-made innovation to concentrate on product platforms. This, the company believes, will help it deliver more meaningful innovation with bigger impact.
Doubling sales, tripling the bott