The Compleat Food Group has returned to the M&A market with the acquisition of UK-based dairy-free cheese business Palace Culture.
Formed in 2021 when private-equity owner – Paris-headquartered PAI Partners – merged the UK portfolio companies Winterbotham Darby and Addo Food Group, The Compleat Food Group’s last asset deal was pie maker Wrights Food Group in that same year.
Palace Culture, based in Bermondsey, London, adds to the group’s plant-based offering, but away from meat alternatives. Addo Food, which makes the Pork Farms, Wall’s and Bowyer’s regular pie and pork pie brands, has a plant-based option. And olives and antipasti supplier Winterbotham Darby owns the Squeaky Bean vegan line of meat-free products.
Set up in 2018 by founder Mirko Parmigiani to produce plant-based cheeses for his dairy-intolerant son, Palace Culture’s organic products are based on almonds and cashew nuts. From its site in south London, the company supplies Whole Foods Market and “premium” independent stores, and is also online at Abel & Cole.
Yvonne Adam, the chief marketing officer at The Compleat Food Group, said: “Plant-based cheese is a fast-growing but relatively untapped market and there is plenty of consumer appetite for genuinely delicious vegan cheeses.
“We’re now looking forward to using our expertise and scale to introduce shoppers to Palace Culture’s unique range of incredibly tasty products that we know they will love, and we hope to be able to announce additional listings shortly.”
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Financial terms were not disclosed by The Compleat Food Group, which with its investment partner also owns the Vadasz assortment of pickles through the Winterbotham Darby transaction. As well as brands for retail, the group serves private-label clients and the foodservice channel.
The Compleat Food Group said it has an annual turnover of £700m ($853.1m) and employs 3,500 people across ten sites.
Palace Culture’s portfolio features the Kimcheeze, The Mouldy Goaty, Sacre Blue and Holy Smokes plant-based cheese brands.
Parmigiani said: “Having seen how The Compleat Food Group has worked with the likes of Vadasz to retain its authenticity and incredible quality, we’re excited for the next chapter of Palace Culture’s evolution and to use The Compleat Food Group’s expertise to continue to innovate and introduce even more people to the world of plant-based vegan cheeses.”