Cranswick enters pet food sector as it snaps up Lincolnshire business

Pork and poultry specialist Cranswick has entered the dog food market.

Grove Pet Foods has been acquired by the FTSE-listed Hull giant, with chief executive Adam Couch spelling it out as an attractive platform for future growth, and a business that can be invested in to expand further.

The £21.5 million turnover company employs 100 people at a plant just west of Lincoln.

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Mr Couch said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Grove Pet Foods, a well-invested manufacturer of dry pet food supplying leading brands focussed on the specialist pet retail market.

“This acquisition represents a platform for future growth in the attractive UK pet food market and diversification into this complementary category for Cranswick. The existing facility has capacity and a footprint for further expansion.

“Grove Pet Foods has built a reputation for high quality products and service that is well aligned with Cranswick. The combined business will benefit from vertical integration opportunities within the group and particularly our fresh poultry and pork businesses.

“We look forward to building on this and continuing to invest in the product range, facilities and the team over the years ahead.”

A new packing hall has been a recent addition for Grove Pet Foods.

Cranwick had been in the running for North Yorkshire business Inspired Pet Nutrition Ltd in late 2020, but pulled out of the bidding shortly after informing the City of its intentions. It is behind the Wagg and Harrington’s brands.

Grove, based in the village of North Scarle, produces dry dog food for several leading brands under private label relationships, alongside its own brands including Vitalin and Alpha Feeds.

It has recently invested £5 million in the site with a new packing hall and bagging machine. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

Managing director John Walgate is described by Cranswick as having “a wealth of experience in this attractive category,” – he will remain with and continue to lead the business.

Mr Couch added: “We welcome John and the Grove Pet Foods team to Cranswick and look forward to working with them to invest in and develop the business further.”

Latest figures for Grove show that in 2020 turnover increased 14.6 per cent to £21.5 million, with an increase in margin from 6.3 per cent to almost 10 per cent.

Cranwsick employs more than 13,000 people – and has made several major acquisitions in the food sector while also seeing strong organic growth serving major supermarkets and the likes of McDonald’s.

Formed in the early Seventies to produce animal feed it evolved to cover the entire value chain for pig farmers, adding poultry in recent years. It is closing in on becoming a £2 billion company.

Grove dates back to the late Sixties, with artisan roots of owner production spreading to friends. It traded for a decade as Apha Feeds – a major brand – before becoming Grove in 2014.

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