Greenyard has again acquired an asset in plant-based ice-cream, snapping up ice Belgium’s Crème de la Crème.

The deal, for which financial terms were not disclosed, sees fruit-and-veg giant Greenyard buy a production facility in Hasselt in the east of the country.

Crème de la Crème is a private-label manufacturer of frozen desserts. Its portfolio includes ice lollies, sorbet, gelato and pre-mixed frozen fruit-bars for smoothies.

According to Crème de la Crème’s website, it supplies customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In a statement, Greenyard said it snapped up “over 25 years of additional in-house experience” in producing dairy-free frozen desserts.

The company entered the category last May when it bought Italian vegan ice cream manufacturer Gigi.

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Greenyard told Just Food it is planning to keep Crème de la Crème’s workforce, which numbers around 50 employees.

The company’s business has centred on fresh, frozen and prepared products centred in fruits and vegetables. The deal for Crème de la Crème adds to the company’s efforts to build a “full range of healthy, pure-plant products for any moment of the day”, it said.

Francis Kint, Greenyard’s CEO, added: “We are convinced there will be a growing demand for delicious, healthy, pure-plant snacking and indulgent products.

“We are happy to integrate the Crème de la Crème team into the Greenyard family and strengthen our knowledge and production capacity in pure-plant ice manufacturing, right here in Belgium.

“The business seamlessly integrates within Greenyard’s European-wide frozen logistic chain, and our global access to the largest retailers.”

Rik Zweegers, the CEO of Crème de la Crème, said the company will benefit from Greenyard’s commercial contacts.

“With Greenyard, we’ll be able to reshuffle the world of frozen snacking, as both retailers and consumers are looking for tasty and healthy options to create value,” Zweegers said.

Greenyard said the acquisitions of Gigi and Crème de la Crème meant it was “ready to accelerate and disrupt the frozen snack category” with pure-plant frozen products.

The company told Just Food “retailers and consumers are picking up on” the Gigi products.

It added: “That is also why we will continue to fully support the brand in the coming months, to make sure that ever more consumers find the way to Gigi, the pure-plant ice.”

In Greenyard’s 2022/23 financial year, it generated sales of €4.69bn ($5bn), up from €4.4bn a year earlier. The company booked an EBIT of €48.7m, against €58.3m the year before. Net profit from continuing operations stood at €9.3m, against €16.9m in the previous year.

In December, the company announced it was moving away from having two CEOs and promoting internally for its new chief executive. Greenyard named Francis Kint as its new CEO. Kint, the MD of Greenyard’s frozen division, succeeded the company’s co-CEOs Hein Deprez and Marc Zwaanveld, who had been in post since 2019.

Greenyard has approximately 8,500 employees and operates in 19 countries. Its main markets are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, the UK, the US, Poland and Czech Republic.