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Lily O'Brien's Desserts Collection

Polish food group Colian has set “ambitious” targets to double its UK business to £50m.

It has launched a Colian UK business unit to bring together the sales and distribution of its portfolio of confectionery brands, including Lily O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Shaw.

With increased brand investment and access to “world-class” manufacturing and product development capabilities, Colian UK would become a “major player” in the confectionery category, it said.

Andrew Marjoram, who was previously commercial director for Lily O’Brien’s, has been appointed as its MD.

Both Elizabeth Shaw and Lily O’Brien’s had experienced “strong growth” since they were acquired by Colian in 2016 and 2018, said Marjoram.

He said: “It is now time to bring this talented team more closely together to spearhead growth across the group.”

There will be “clear opportunities to drive sales” in the confectionery category as we come out of lockdown, added Marjoram.

“Families, friends and loved ones will be able to reunite at last, and confectionery gifting has an important role to play in making these moments extra special.

“With 170 years of combined expertise, Lily O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Shaw are perfectly placed to capitalise on these trends”, he said.

Marjoram added Lily O’Brien’s Desserts Collection was the “driving force” behind Colian’s recent performance.

He said that Elizabeth Shaw would continue to “innovate”, adding that its Mint Crisp SKU was vegan-friendly and free from gluten and palm oil.

“We will continue to invest in marketing and product innovation, putting us in a strong position for the future in one of the UK’s biggest fmcg categories”, he added.

Colian cited data from Nielsen, which shows that the total inlaid box chocolates category is currently valued at £445m [MAT April 2021].

It said that the premium inlaid market – currently valued at £269m – was driving the overall category growth.

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