Wet ingredients – such as pastes and sauces – are viewed as big growth area by Barts. This is confirmed by market statistics which show the category is currently growing at a year-on-year rate of 15%, the firm claimed.
Along with the acquisition of Berkshire-based OTP Foods, the funding will enable further organic growth and help Barts to capitalise on other market opportunities and growth areas, said the firm’s ceo David Collard.
“OTP Foods provides a natural extension to our business and a fresh outlet for our new product development skills based on real consumer insight,” said Collard. “We can already boast several firsts in wet ingredients and we want to drive further change. There is ample scope for taking the consumer into new product areas, and we want to be the company that takes them there.”
The deal will allow the firm to offer new and exciting products to its customer base and help it drive change through the ‘wet’ category, he added.
Simon Whyatt, relationship director at Santander Corporate & Commercial, praised Barts’ management team for the deal.
“Barts is an excellent example of a local business with an iconic national brand,” he added. “Its success is the result of an exceptional management team, whose understanding of the market in which they operate means they are consistently ahead of the curve.”
The company was founded as Barts Spices in 1963 by Reg and Jo Bartlam and now supplies about 120 herbs and spices to UK retailers.
The Bristol-based business became an organic supplier in 1998 when it introduced a range of wet herbs and ready-to-use pastes.
Tesco started stocking its Fairtrade-certified basil, marjoram, thyme and mint recyclable tubs in 2011. The firm claimed this made it the first company to supply Fairtrade spice to UK retailers.
Last year, Barts introduced a versatile ‘spoonkler’ lid, which combined two different openings, hinged in different directions one on top of each other. The first included holes for sprinkling, the second is large enough to fit a teaspoon into.
The firm is a keen advocate of culinary training academies and has formed partnerships with Waitrose Cookery School, Weber Grill Academy, Great British Chefs and Hobbs House Bakery School.