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Mo Farah-backed Quorn Foods sold for £550m

4 min read

01 October 2015

Former deputy editor

Quorn Foods, maker of protein-rich meat substitutes, has been sold by owners Exponent Private Equity and Intermediate Capital Group to a Philippines-based food business for £550m.

Britons are becoming increasingly health-aware, as demonstrated by National Fitness Day on 9 September. 

Findings during the government-supported wellbeing campaign showed that more than half of Brits believe a healthy lifestyle is more important than they did a year ago.

That’s good news for a company like Quorn Foods, which enlisted Olympic gold medallist Mo Farrah as a brand ambassador in late 2013.

Rather than concentrating on the meat-free element of the company, the carnivorous Olympian was drafted in to promote the firm’s products to active consumers as a means of adopting a high-protein diet – effectively “reframing Quorn”.

At the time, Peter Harrison, Quorn’s international marketing director, said: “By reframing Quorn, we will reach a new audience – those who lead a fit and active lifestyle – whilst continuing to appeal to people that already understand the benefits of a meat-free diet.

“We’re continuing to focus on our core products and will be investing more than ever before in marketing communications to ensure that the brand, and the category, is front of mind for the millions of consumers who seek to lead a fit and active lifestyle.”

Seemingly the campaign has paid off, as Quorn has now been sold by private equity owners Exponent and Intermediate Capital for £550m to food business Monde Nissin, which is based in the Philippines.

The deal, which is set to be finalised by 30 October, comes following Quorn’s sales reached £150.3m in 2014. Monde Nissin will look to capitalise on Quorn’s reputation as it pushes food products centred on health and sustainability.

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“Under Exponent’s ownership Quorn has been transformed into a fast-growing global health brand,” said Simon Davidson, partner at Exponent. “Our partnership with the superb management team, led by Kevin Brennan [Quorn CEO], has created one of the UK’s fastest growing food brands as well as a rapidly growing international business.”

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Brennan went on to express a goal of becoming a $1bn business and the global leader for meat alternatives as the brand expands across Asia.

Despite Monde Nissin being headquartered in the Philippines, Quorn will continue to operate from three UK sites in North Yorkshire, Norfolk and Teesside – the latter of which has secured a £30m investment to increase capacity and job opportunities. Quorn also has operations in Frankfurt and Chicago.

“Monde Nissin have been investing in “on-trend, better for you” products internationally in line with our strategy to become a global diversified food company,” said Monde Nissin’s CEO Henry Soesanto.

“Quorn represents an important new leg in our offering. We are excited by the growth potential of the global meat alternatives market, which complements our strategy perfectly.”