Barilla has purchased a majority stake in Pasta Evangelists, a UK company which delivers fresh pasta recipe boxes direct-to-consumers.
The Italian company says the deal supports its international growth plans, especially in the UK, and boosts its digital sales efforts amid a period when food delivery businesses are thriving.
Founded in 2016, Pasta Evangelists delivers various forms of pasta and sauces directly to consumers across the UK on a subscription basis. The company also distributes its pasta and sauces via Ocado, Amazon and Marks & Spencer. Among its investors is Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith.
Barilla – known as the world’s biggest pasta maker – will acquire the UK company through its venture firm BLU1877 for an undisclosed sum. As cited by Reuters, two sources close to the matter said Barilla would pay around £40 million for the fresh pasta firm.
According to Barilla, Pasta Evangelists’ sales rose more than 300% during 2020, having sold in excess of 1 million portions of pasta during the year, up from just 200 portions when it launched in 2016.
Gianluca Di Tondo, Barilla Group chief marketing officer, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has changed consumer behaviour, the way people work, and the way products are distributed.
“The consumer demand for freshly made, premium food is growing, as well as the boom in ecommerce and subscription-based consumer products. We are excited to expand our family with a brand that underlines these major trends. The UK is at the forefront of both.”
Following the acquisition, Pasta Evangelists will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity led by its CEO and founder, Alessandro Savelli, and co-founders Chris Rennoldson and Finn Lagun, who will remain significant shareholders in the company.
Barilla is looking to expand in the promising UK market, where the company is registering interesting growth rates. These efforts will also be supported by the creation of a digital hub in London, which will work in an integrated way with the Parma headquarters.
Pasta Evangelists CEO and founder, Alessandro Savelli, said: “With Barilla’s support, we look forward to taking Pasta Evangelists to the next level, including through internationalisation and scaling up our production whilst staying true to our core values: freshness, craftsmanship and italianità, or Italianness. As an entrepreneur, and as an Italian, for me this is a dream come true.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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