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March 22, 2013

IFE: Scotland’s Browns mulls new markets following Hall’s buy

Scotland's largest food manufacturer Browns Food Group aims to expand from its regional base and grow distribution in fresh markets on the back of its recent acquisition of the Hall's brand from Vion.

Scotland’s largest food manufacturer Browns Food Group aims to expand from its regional base and grow distribution in fresh markets on the back of its recent acquisition of the Hall’s brand from Vion.

The company bought the Hall’s brand at the beginning of this year and marketing manager Sarah Roberts said the company plans to use the strength and heritage of the enlarged group, which brings together two of the “oldest standing meat manufacturers in Scotland”.

Speaking to just-food at this year’s IFE exhibition in London, Roberts said the Hall’s acquisition was a step-change for the company, taking it from a largely regional focused company to one that is “absolutely” looking at wider markets.

“Certainly with the Hall’s acquisition that has pushed forward our national presence. We are the world’s largest haggis provider and we supply sausages nationally as well,” Roberts said.

While Browns supplies haggis internationally, Roberts conceded the group’s export presence is “minimal”. However, she adds: “The embracing of the Hall’s brand is where we are going to have to, certainly from the marketing perspective, look at where the most effective markets are to be. The purchase of the Hall’s brand has accelerated the need to do that.”

Hall’s is Browns’ most consumer-facing brand and the group feels it requires investment to “nurture and look after”, Roberts said.

However, the company is also working to grow its other brands. Over the past year, Browns has relaunched its Tarbert Fine Foods brand of cooked meats – a move Roberts revealed resulted in a 300% growth in sales.

Elsewhere, Browns has launched online deli and charcuterie brand Lairds which sells direct to consumers. “This is a new brand. Its not a major brand in terms of its turnover just yet, but we see major potential in that. It is still very much in its infancy,” Roberts revealed.

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