France-based agri-food company Avril Group has acquired a majority stake in local plant-based food manufacturer Hari&Co.

Emmanuel Brehier and Benoît Plisson, Hari&Co’s founders and directors, will stay on with minority shareholdings.

Existing investors, Eutopia and Triodos Investment Management, have sold their shares in the company, which sells products including veggie burgers and meatball alternatives.

Avril said it was “committed” to the development of plant protein and said the deal for Hari&Co “strengthens its position in mass consumption”.

Hari&Co sells its products through the French retail channel. A spokesperson for Avril said the company had secured “more than 5,000 sales points” with retailers. It also supplies foodservice customers.

In addition to the French market, the vegan food maker also has a smaller presence in Italy, supplying more than 250 stores, the spokesperson said.

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“This project is fully in line with our strategy. Following the acquisition of Vivien Paille last year, we are pursuing the development of French sectors and the promotion of legumes, from the farm to the table,” Avril CEO Jean-Philippe Puig said.

Last year, Avril bought France-based rice, legumes and chickpeas supplier Soufflet Alimentaire from agribusiness peer InVivo Group. It renamed the business Vivien Paille.

Last October, the French poultry major LDC bought Avril Group’s Ovoteam eggs business and egg brand Matines.

In April 2021, Avril set plans to sell its eggs and pork operations as the business wanted to switch strategic focus and consolidate activities around four strategic areas in condiments and cooking oils; plant-based products for humans and animals; ingredients and energy.

Last year, Avril snapped up a majority stake in Italian firm Eccellenza Italiana, which sells products including condiments and olive oil in France.