Kettle Foods managing director Ashley Hicks (left) with former Cornpoppers owner Balvinder Nijjar.
Kettle Foods has acquired British popcorn producer Cornpoppers for an undisclosed sum, just two days after Conagra Brands made a similar move in the US for the producer of Boomchickapop.
Cornpoppers was established in 1979 and is a privately owned business, supplying branded and private-label popcorn products to retailers and wholesalers. Among its branded range are three cinema-style popcorns, as well as speciality flavours such as jalapeño, chilli and lemon, and maple syrup.
Its acquisition by the maker of Kettle Chips represents the Kettle brand’s continued commitment to the popcorn category; in the UK alone, it remains one of the fastest-growing markets within the snack food industry, growing by 10% last year and buoyed on the whole by rising interest in lighter snacks.
The transaction is being completed through Kettle’s European subsidiary, which is based in the UK.
Ashley Hicks, managing director of Kettle Foods, said: “The acquisition of Cornpoppers is the next exciting step in our transition to build Kettle Foods into a dynamic European snack foods business.
“We’re confident that this will create more opportunities with our trade partners in jointly evolving the full potential of the popcorn category and look forward to welcoming the team at Cornpoppers to Kettle Foods and working with them on making great-tasting popcorn.”
The addition will complement Metcalfe’s Skinny – another UK popcorn company that Kettle acquired in September 2016, and then sought to roll out in the US despite a trademark dispute from Skinnypop owner Amplify Snack Brands.
Kettle Foods hasn’t said whether it intends to expand Cornpoppers into the US over the longer term, though Cornpoppers has a much lesser retail penetration than Metcalfe’s Skinny, which may make a North American launch less likely.
Cornpoppers’ previous owner, Balvinder Nijjar, said: “With the support and expertise of the Kettle Foods team, I am delighted about the opportunity for Cornpoppers to expand and bring our snacking talents together.”
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