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February 24, 2022updated 19 Apr 2022 10:31am

Hilton Food Group enters D2C with minority stake in Alf Turner Sausage Company

Hilton has acquired a 25% stake in the business.

By Simon Harvey

Hilton Food Group has taken a minority interest in Alf Turner Sausage Company, giving the UK meat, seafood and plant-based firm access to a new sales channel.

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The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
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London-listed Hilton, which has been active in M&A in recent months, has purchased a 25% stake in Alf Turner via its foodservice division, Hilton Food Solutions, for an undisclosed sum.

Hilton, a predominately private-label supplier, but also the owner of the Seachill frozen seafood brand, said the deal will “improve access” for its out-of-home business to the direct-to-consumer channel.

Alf Turner supplies UK retail, including Waitrose and Nisa convenience stores, and is also present in the D2C channel, a Hilton spokesperson confirmed, adding “this is an area Hilton Food Solutions is looking to enter through the investment”.

Peter Hounsome, the managing director of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire-based Hilton Food Solutions, said: “This investment is all about diversifying across different channels, as well as the products we can offer consumers. This is another step towards our goal of being the partner of choice for customers across the UK and on a global scale.”

Alf Turner, headquartered in Aldershot, in the southern county of Hampshire, also supplies Scotch eggs and pork crackling snacks under the Dragon’s brand, reflective of an investment in 2012 from Peter Jones of the popular TV investment-pitch series of the same name.

Established in 2010 by Paul Turner, the business also owns its namesake brand of sausages, pork rind snacks and seasonings. The company uses three licensed co-manufacturers: Nottingham-based Addo Food Group, owned since 2020 by private-equity firm PAI Partners and now trading as a combined entity, The Compleat Food Group; Black Country Snacks, a pork rind manufacturer in Walsall, West Midlands; and Leonards Ingredients, a supplier of meat and sausages in Uckfield in south-east England.

Family-owned Alf Turner “plans to diverse the brand into different channels, whilst continuing to expand the brand portfolio”, according to a statement today (24 February).

Mr Turner said: “I am confident we have partnered with the right business to develop the brand as we envisioned over ten years ago when starting Alf Turner.

“Hilton Food Solutions pride themselves on being able to maintain longstanding customer and supplier relationships, and Peter and the team at Hilton Food Solutions have been as invested into the brand as my own family, which is paramount for this brand to succeed.”

As well as the UK, Hilton has operations in Australia, New Zealand and Belgium, and also the Netherlands after increasing it investment to full ownership last year of Dalco Food, a vegan and vegetarian food business.

More recently, Hilton acquired another Dutch firm, Foppen, the trading name of salmon supplier the Dutch Seafood Company. And in October, meat processor Fairfax Meadow, a London-based business serving the out-of-home and travel channels, was added to the portfolio.

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Free Report
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What’s the forecast for the food and grocery industry?

The food and grocery sector thrived during the pandemic, largely due to the shutdown of the food service industry and the sector’s subsequent necessity, panic-induced bulk purchasing, and spending more time at home. The market has grown as a result of inflation. Consumer unwillingness to go out and socialize, and the reopening of several hospitality facilities, helped maintain the demand for groceries, particularly online, in 2021. As consumer behavior changes, we consume more food and drink at home, and inflation increases basket sizes. GlobalData predicts that the sector will continue to hold a higher share than had been predicted prior to the pandemic. This is true despite the fact that the food and grocery sector's share of overall retail will decline from its peak in 2020. This report will discuss market forecasts and key themes in the global food & grocery industry in 2022 and beyond. It covers:
  • Market drivers and inhibitors
  • Five-year forecasts and the impact of COVID-19
  • The performance of the online channel versus offline
  • Major trends in the market including rapid delivery, ambient retailing, supply chain disruption, and inflation
Assess developments within this sector to help your business thrive in 2022 and beyond.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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