German food conglomerate Pfeifer & Langen has taken a majority stake in local sausage and plant-based meat business Rügenwalder Mühle.

Pfeifer & Langen, best known as a sugar manufacturer, and Rügenwalder Mühle both have plant-based meat alternative products in their portfolio and it is the desire to expand in this area that has brought the businesses together.

The financial details of the deal, instigated by Rügenwalder Mühle, have not been disclosed nor has the size of the stake Cologne-based Pfeifer & Langen has acquired.

The deal is subject to the approval of the German competition authority.

Family business Rügenwalder Mühle, based in Bad Zwischenahn in Lower Saxony, is a traditional sausage maker which has evolved in recent years to make alt-meat products. It now offers 25 meat and sausage products and around 30 vegetarian and vegan alternatives.

Christian Rauffus, deputy chairman of the company’s supervisory board, said: “In less than ten years we have brought vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives out of the niche and into the centre of society. By participating [in this deal], we want to take advantage of the opportunity to further develop the portfolio, especially beyond the German market.”

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Uwe Schöneberg, managing partner of Pfeifer & Langen, said: “By joining forces, our mutual strengths can be leveraged, for example procurement of raw materials [or] in the production of innovative products.

“Our consistent thinking and actions [will] allow the still young category to further develop plant-based meat alternatives.”

Pfeifer & Langen, which generated sales of €1.33bn ($1.45bn) in 2022, is active in a number of food categories and owns KP Nuts and Pom-Bear brands owner Intersnack Group

Another subsidiary is Endori, a manufacturer of plant-based meat alternatives, and the company also has a stake in UK vegan business VBites.

Research published this month revealed that more than half of Europeans are reducing their meat consumption.