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Fudco

Vibrant Foods has added to its growing South Asian foods portfolio with the takeover of premium nuts and spices supplier Fudco, the platform’s second acquisition in less than a month.

The family run London business complements Vibrant’s existing portfolio of ethnic brands, expanding its plant-based offering and strengthening its consumer reach.

PE firm Exponent created Vibrant, which also includes wholesalers East End Foods and TRS Foods, in 2020 as a platform to consolidate the Asian and free-from markets. Last month it expanded into chilled grocery with the acquisition of paneer maker Everest Dairies, which followed the maiden deal for Indian and healthy snacks specialist Cofresh last year.

The latest deal for Fudco cemented Vibrant Foods’ position as one of Europe’s leading Asian foods businesses, executive chairman Rohit Samani said.

“Fudco’s story is one we have been following for a long time,” he added. “They have sourced fantastic, premier ingredients, and grown the business from a single, family owned shop in London to the country’s fastest-growing premium Asian foods brand.”

Founded in 1979 by brothers Sheilesh and Akhil Shah with a shop on Wembley’s Ealing Road, Fudco today has a range of 2,500 SKUs, supplying supermarkets and independents with nuts, spices, dried fruits, pulses, speciality flours and other Asian foods.

Fudco was one of the first to develop the ‘store-in-store’ concept with Sainsbury’s in 2018, which rolled out across 400 stores.

The business’ premium brands include Fudco (nuts, spices and other Asian foods), Chai Xpress (ayurvedic, spiced and herbal teas) and Golden Tree (Mediterranean-inspired nuts and seeds), as well as a separate range in health and beauty.

Vibrant has acquired the food side of the business, with the health and beauty brands not included in the deal and remaining independent under the ownership of one of the founders.

The food arm of Fudco employs 68 staff across its headquarters and factory in northwest London and retail store on Ealing Road.

Sheilesh and Akhil Shah will support the transition of Fudco into the Vibrant Foods stable over the coming months. Sheilesh will continue to steer the company’s health and beauty brands independently.

Sheilesh Shah said: “For 35 years, we have built a business that cared not only for the quality of our products, but for the community we serve. We are a true family company, and our strong team deserve huge credit in helping us achieve our vision.

“We’ve seen our brand branch out into mainstream retailers, finding new fans of healthy nuts, spices, dried fruits and more.

“Vibrant Foods has shown how they protect and support ambitious family businesses. I know we’ve found the right partner for our next chapter and I’m very confident Fudco will go on to achieve even greater things. I wish Vibrant and the whole Fudco team the very best.”

Samani added: “We see this new partnership as a powerful new platform for the brand to take its growth to the next level, as we seek to continue its impressive performance across major retailers and local community stores where Fudco is so known and loved.

“The partnership with Fudco also cements Vibrant Foods’ position as one of Europe’s leading Asian foods businesses. It’s another family run business which we will give new resources and opportunity to, while protecting their legacy.

“Fudco’s community roots are something we want to protect and nurture, and their brand totally resonates with our values across Vibrant Foods. We are excited about how Fudco can contribute to us reaching a bigger audience, championing both health and taste that makes this category so exciting.”

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