Ireland-based Valeo Foods has added to its business in the UK with the acquisition of savoury-snacks supplier Freshers Foods.

The deal, struck for an undisclosed sum, is the second Valeo has announced since its own sale to private-equity giant Bain Capital earlier this year.

Freshers Foods, based in Wigan in north-west England, is centred on pork scratchings. It sells the snacks under its own brand, Openshaws, as well as co-manufacturing for the Snaffling Pig Co and Awfully Posh brands.

In August, Valeo Foods snapped up UK meat-snacks business New World Foods Europe, the owner of brands including Wild West beef jerky.

Valeo Foods plans to house Freshers Foods with New World Foods, with both businesses reporting to Ashley Hicks, who heads the Irish group’s snacks division.

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A Valeo Foods spokesperson said: “Freshers is another great addition to our expansive portfolio of leading food brands and is consistent with our ambitious growth strategy.”
Dublin-based Valeo was formed by private-equity firm CapVest more than a decade ago when it bought two Irish food businesses: Batchelors and Origin Foods. Valeo is now a business generating more than EUR1.1bn (US$1.27bn) in sales operating in the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. The company has more than 20 manufacturing sites and employs more than 4,000 staff.

Through M&A, the group now owns brands including Rowse honey and Balconi cakes. In the space of three weeks across December last year and January 2021, Valeo also acquired UK snacks maker It’s All Good and German confectionery business Schluckwerder Holding.

Just Food has approached Freshers Foods to comment on the sale of the business.

In September, the company announced managing director and founder David Openshaw had died, aged 76, “after battling many illnesses”.