Unilever boosts snack business with purchase of Graze

Keiligh Baker's picture

Unilever has acquired London-based snack brand Graze for an undisclosed price, boosting the group’s presence in food, it said on Tuesday.

Graze started life a decade ago as a snack box delivery service. The brand raised just £2m from London investors Octopus Ventures and Draper Esprit before being acquired by US buyout group Carlyle in 2012.

The Unilever deal price was not disclosed but sources say it was less than £100m.

Nitin Paranjpe, president of Unilever's food & refreshment business said: "Accelerating our presence in healthy foods and out of home this is an excellent strategic fit for the Unilever Food & Refreshment business, and a wonderful addition to our stable of purpose driven brands.£

Nick Cooper, of global branding agency Landor told the BBC: "Unilever has a good track record when it comes to purchasing and then nurturing smaller brands. Its innovation and investment incubators have given it expertise in growing those smaller, more entrepreneurial brands. That's why this deal makes sense for Graze.

Mr Cooper said in the short term Unilever would "likely leave Graze alone".

"That's certainly what it did with Ben & Jerry's".

However he added Graze would be able to "tap into" Unilever's global distribution channels and reach new customers.

Graze describes itself as the UK's largest healthy snacks brand, providing nuts, seeds and snack bars with no artificial ingredients.

Unilever saw off interest from competing bidders including Kellogg and Pepsico, the owner of Walker's Crisps, to clinch the deal.