Exponent merges two assets in same category

Exponent merges two assets in same category

Two investor-backed, UK-based suppliers of Asian-style foods, TRS Foods and East End Foods, are to merge under a new banner.

Newly-formed Vibrant Foods will be led by a team of food-industry executives, including Rohit Samani and Umesh Parmar as chairman and chief executive, respectively. They are both former CEOs of Tilda Rice, which recently moved into the hands of Spain's Ebro Foods from Hain Celestial.

TRS and East End are both owned by London-based investor Exponent Private Equity, which acquired the two family-run businesses last November, according to a statement. The firms are engaged in the manufacture of Indian snacks, pulses, spices, flours and other South Asian ethnic ingredients all supplied to supermarkets, independent stores and wholesalers.

"The combination of TRS and East End under the Vibrant Foods umbrella will unlock significant growth potential within the expanding ethnic foods market," the statement read. "The broader South Asian foods market is estimated to be worth between GBP2.5-3bn (US$3.09-3.7bn) and growing at circa 5% per annum in the UK, thanks to immigration and relatively higher birth rates of ethnic communities, as well as increasing demand for ethnic foods from mainstream consumers."

TRS and East End will continue to market their products under existing brand names, and will see former Quorn Foods chief executive Kevin Brennan join the Vibrant Foods board as non-executive director. Brennan's tenure at the helm of Quorn included its ownership by Exponent.

Other key executives include former Adelie Foods – now in administration – and Noble Foods man Mark Stott, who will serve as CFO. Jeremy Hudson, previously with Hain Celestial's UK arm Hain Daniels Group and 2 Sisters Food Group, becomes COO.

Vibrant Foods chairman Samani said: "The launch of the Vibrant Foods brand marks the culmination of years of hard work by the founders of TRS and East End. I am confident that the fantastic brands they have built will go from strength to strength as part of a larger group, underpinned by a loyal customer base and supportive trends in the ethnic foods market. 

"During the last few months, we have seen consumers re-learning to love cooking from scratch and shop local. Although these are turbulent times, I am excited by what Vibrant Foods will achieve."