“We are not commenting on speculation on the sale of Quorn,” a spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk today (September 7).
Weekend press reports had suggested that Nomad Foods, the new owner of Birdseye and Findus, was competing with McCain to acquire Quorn. Nomad was said to be preparing a £500M-plus bid, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph.
Early stage discussions
McCain Foods was also said to be in early-stage discussions with Quorn about a takeover bid.
Mycoprotein manufacturer Quorn uses fermented fungus and sugar to produce meat-free mince, nuggets, burgers and sausages in 16 countries worldwide.
The firm’s owner, private equity business Exponent, was said to have put the meat-free manufacturer up for sale. It planned to issue detailed information about Quorn to prospective buyers this week, according to both The Sunday Telegraph and Sky News.
A sale of Quorn had previously been linked to US food firms WhiteWave and Pinnacle. It was Quorn’s European potential, rather than US growth opportunities, that was likely to attract investors, one analyst told FoodManufacture.co.uk in March.
“The focus will be on the European growth potential,” said Robert Lawson, co-founder of industry consultancy Food Strategy Associates and former md of Quorn.
“Quorn is a very small player in the US meat substitute market. US companies are unlikely to look at Quorn there and see a huge opportunity that is readily accessible – today the business is still small, number five in the market and faces tough US competition. It also has an additional cost versus competition of freight and tariffs, as all Quorn is made in the UK.”
Acquired Quorn in 2011
Exponent, which acquired Quorn in 2011, may also consider a stock market listing for the business.
The firm posted a 7% rise in 2014 sales in £150M in January this year.
Meanwhile, a surge in demand, driven by big gains in the US and Europe, had led Quorn to increase its production capacity by 50%, the business revealed today (September 7).
“There is a growing trend towards meat reduction around the world and as more consumers turn to alternative sources of protein, Quorn has seen a growth in sales globally,” said Brennan.
Quorn currently exports to 15 international markets around the world. Read more about its increased capacity here.