Tayto takes a bite out of pop­corn firm as it con­tin­ues to ex­pand prod­uct range

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY RACHEL MARTIN

TAYTO in Co Ar­magh has ex­panded fur­ther into the snack mar­ket af­ter swal­low­ing up English food firms which make pop­corn and other snacks.

And its 75% pur­chase of Portle­bay in Devon means that Tayto will have gourmet pop­corn in flavours such as maple syrup and ba­con in its port­fo­lio, a de­par­ture from its beloved, tra­di­tional crisp flavours like cheese and onion and salt and vine­gar.

The Tan­dragee crisp maker, led by chair­man Ray­mond Hutchin­son and chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Allen, has also bought Tav­ern Snacks in Lon­don. Its prod­ucts range from savoury nuts to pick­led eggs.

CRISP gi­ant Tayto has ex­panded fur­ther into Great Bri­tain’s snack mar­ket as it swal­lows up two English food firms mak­ing pop­corn and other snacks.

The Tan­dragee firm has bought Tav­ern Snacks in Lon­don and 75% of Devon-based com­pany Portle­bay — mak­ing it the big­gest Bri­tish-owned maker of snacks in the UK.

The firm, fa­mous for red-suited mas­cot Mr Tayto, is owned by Man­der­ley Food Group.

Man­der­ley now em­ploys around 1,500 peo­ple across the UK — with just over 300 peo­ple based in North­ern Ire­land.

Tayto chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Allen said: “We are re­ally im­pressed with the in­no­va­tion and en­thu­si­asm of the Portle­bay team and they make a first-class, pre­mium prod­uct.

“While they will con­tinue to run the busi­ness in­de­pen­dently from Tayto, we shall of course pro­vide ac­cess to all the wider group ca­pa­bil­i­ties and we are look­ing for­ward to see­ing sig­nif­i­cant growth.

“The pur­chase of Tav­ern has al­lowed us to di­ver­sify both by adding an­other brand and also by in­tro­duc­ing their range of nuts to our port­fo­lio. We are now pro­duc­ing crisps in Tan­dragee which are be­ing sold un­der the Tav­ern name all around Lon­don.”

Tayto has made other large ac­qui­si­tions in Great Bri­tain in­clud­ing Golden Won­der, Rin­gos, Real Crisps, Mr Porky, Jonathan Crisp, and also makes own brand snacks for su­per­mar­kets.

Tayto is still owned by the Hutchin­son fam­ily and head­quar­tered in Co Ar­magh.

Larger ri­val Walk­ers is owned by Amer­i­can firm Pep­sico, and Mccoys — the se­cond largest — is owned by Ger­man firm KP.

Tayto’s 75% ac­qui­si­tion of Portle­bay marks the com­pany’s first ven­ture into the pop­corn mar­ket.

Portle­bay cur­rently sup­plies stores such as Tesco, Sains­bury’s, Co- Op and a num­ber of in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers, mainly in the south of Eng­land.

Tav­ern Snacks, which makes crisps, roasted nuts and pork scratch­ings, was founded in the 1970s and sells mainly to the li­censed trade in the Greater Lon­don area.

The com­pany also sup­plies a wide range of other prod­ucts, in­clud­ing bar sup­plies such as straws and cock­tail sticks, through to con­fec­tionery and even pick­led eggs, mus­sels and cock­les.

Tayto pro­duces more than one mil­lion crisps and snacks at its Tan­dragee site each work­ing day.

How­ever, last year the firm asked for 20 vol­un­tary re­dun­dan­cies at its plant in Tan­dragee af­ter the snack man­u­fac­turer claimed pro­duc­tion costs here are con­sid­er­ably higher than at any of its sites in Eng­land.

Its lat­est ac­counts show the group made more than £7.1m pre-tax profit for the year end­ing June 2015. The same year the firm also had a turnover of £174m.

In July, the firm bought over Co Down beauty spot Quintin Cas­tle to turn it into a venue for cor­po­rate events.

Its ac­qui­si­tions are the first in nearly five years and come as the com­pany closes its six­ti­eth birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.

In 2012, Tayto took over pork scratch­ings firm Mid­land Snacks. At the time the firm said it hoped to ex­pand its Chinese, Aus­tralian and western USA ex­ports.

In 2009 it was an­nounced Tayto had ac­quired Stafford­shire-based firm Jonathan Crisp, the trad­ing name of Nat­u­ral Crisps, af­ter it ran into dif­fi­cul­ties.

And in 2008 Tayto took over Birm­ing­ham-based Red Mill snack foods which makes Oinks, Quar­ter­backs, Salt and Vine­gar Savoury Sticks and Ba­con Rash­ers.

In 2007 Tayto ac­quired Sirhowy Valley Foods, mak­ers of the Real Crisps range.

And in 2006 the firm took over Golden Won­der and the con­tract to pro­duce Mini Pringles for Proc­ter & Gam­ble. The deal saved more than 500 jobs that were un­der threat in the firm’s Scun­thorpe and Corby fac­to­ries when Golden Won­der en­tered ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Last week, Tayto was run­ner-up in the Best Mar­ket­ing Achieve­ment cat­e­gory in the NI Food and Drink Awards in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Belfast Tele­graph.

Tayto NI was highly com­mended for its Taste of Home cam­paign, which in­vited North­ern Ire­land peo­ple and ex-pats to vote for their favourite crisp flavours from tastes as­so­ci­ated with North­ern Ire­land such as the Ul­ster Fry, curry chip and brown le­mon­ade.

See to­day’s NI Food and Drink Awards Sup­ple­ment for more in­for­ma­tion

PRESSEYE

Tayto chair­man Ray­mond Hutchin­son and chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Allen

Tayto em­ploys 300 peo­ple in NI

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