The Jelly Bean Factory to benefit from cross selling, increased investment

The Jelly Bean Factory to benefit from cross selling, increased investment

Cloetta announced plans to take control of Aran Candy, a company that manufactures up-market brand The Jelly Bean Factory, last week. Aran co-founder and MD Richard Cullen - who will continue to head up the business following the acquisition - tells just-food that he expects the change of ownership to take The Jelly Bean Factory's growth trajectory to the next level.

Swedish confectionery major Cloetta has struck a deal that will see it take a 75% stake in Aran Candy, the Ireland-based maker of high-growth premium jelly bean brand The Jelly Bean Factory. The company will pay SEK140m (US$21.1m) for 75% of the business and will take full ownership in 2016.

Announcing the agreement, Cloetta said it would benefit from increased scale in the UK where it sells brands including Chewits and recently acquired gluten-free firm Goody Good Stuff.

Speaking to just-food in the wake of the sale, Aran co-founder and managing director Richard Cullen echoes the sentiment that The Jelly Bean Factory's UK reach will strengthen Cloetta's hand in the market. "The Jelly Bean Factory has a very good position in the UK and overall it will be very positive for the entire group," he suggests.

As Cloetta integrates the two businesses in the UK, the group is well-positioned to benefit from a stronger brand footprint and The Jelly Bean Factory's extensive presence in the trade, Cullen suggests.

"The business model in the UK is one that allows us to reach many sectors and categories of trade. We also have a unique product offering, which is all-natural. We have developed a range and pack formats which meet the need for all categories and classes of trade."

Cullen, who will continue to oversee the business after completion, was upbeat on outlook for the brand, which generated annual sales of SEK100m last year and is growing its top line at a fast clip. The Jelly Bean Factory will prosper under Cloetta's stewardship, he predicts.

"The Jelly Bean Factory has had growth in the UK market every year since it launched in 1998," Cullen stresses. "[It] is growing in all markets, especially the UK and virtually all export markets. We will certainly see accelerated growth as the brand overlays into the Cloetta structure."

In particular, Cullen says that the brand will benefit from the cross-selling opportunities in Cloetta's "core markets" overseas.

Cloetta's European strength will enable The Jelly Bean Factory to step-up its international expansion strategy, the company expects. The UK is Aran's largest market and the group also has a presence in countries including Ireland, Germany, US, Canada and the Middle East.

"The Jelly Bean Factory products are exported worldwide and most of the production is exported from Ireland. We are extremely export orientated. To be honest, it would be difficult to be more export focused than we are. However, being part of Cloetta will certainly give the brand strength in Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, etcetera."

He also expects the business to benefit from increased brand investment, as Cloetta raises its spend on R&D and marketing, Cullen says. However, he is tight-lipped over the group's plans to accelerate investments. "At this point in time I am not in a position to say where and how much [spending will increase by]."

Cullen remains positive on the prospects for The Jelly Bean Factory. As Cloetta extends its strategy to focus on "munch moments", Cullen believes that the jelly bean business will come out on top.

"There will most certainly be growth. The Jelly Bean Factory has [shown] consistent growth for many years and we expect that to continue."