Orior, the Swiss food group, said today (23 August) that it is acquiring the Culinor Food Group, which will become Orior’s “European centre of competence”.

Orior said the acquisition of the producer of fresh prepared ready meals for retail and food service operators across Belgium marked another step forwards in its 2020 growth strategy “and strengthens Orior’s core competence in the growing premium fresh convenience food market beyond the Swiss border and into the greater European market”.

The acquisition will take effect from end of August 2016. 

Culinor’s revenues amount to approximately EUR88m (US$99m), Orior said. “With the acquisition of Culinor, Orior has taken out a significant position in the premium fresh convenience food market in the Benelux region and created a strong platform from which it can successfully address the entire European market.”

Culinor operates production plants across Belgium and a logistics centre in Destelbergen. “All of its production plants are equipped with highly-modern systems and offer a variety of technologies for producing premium fresh convenience food products,” Orior said. 

“Culinor will operate as an autonomous competence centre within Orior and serve as the European platform for targeting the entire European market.”

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Orior said it is confident that the fresh convenience market segment will grow in importance over time. “With the slow disappearance of long-established daily patterns, consumers are having increasingly fewer large meals and are also less likely to eat at fixed times of the day. Instead, there are certain windows of time when smaller meals are quickly prepared and eaten. High-quality fresh convenience products that address this trend are in high demand. Belgium is considered one of the most innovative countries in Europe when it comes to sophisticated convenience food and it has repeatedly set international trends with its creations and new developments.”

Culinor, which Orior said has a large portfolio of high-quality products, and which specialises in chilled prepared meals and ready-made meal components “is one of the foremost players in the highly innovative market of fresh convenience food”. “Its products range from classic local cuisine such as stamppot and vol-au-vent to meat, fish and oven entrees and stews, soups and sauces. Culinor’s portfolio also includes innovative convenience concepts such as the to-go line Meal in the Box or the ready-made Wok & Dinner Mix meal kits.

Last month, UK fresh prepared foods manufacturer BakkavorGroup announced the sale of its Belgian fresh prepared food business, Vaco, to Culinor.