The Munch brand is exclusive to WHSmith, and reflects the partnership approach that Cranswick is developing with retailers in driving growth in the food-to-go category.
It has been created by creative agency Pearlfisher to support food-to-go category growth and will be stocked across WHSmith’s airport, rail and hospital estate consisting of more than 400 stores nationwide
Featuring more than 70 new products, the range includes premium sandwiches, grain salads, flat breads and hot eat products for the café estate as part of a wider food-to-go offer, including a greater focus on growing categories such as breakfast, snacking and health. The range will also feature gluten-free products.
‘Food-to-go has evolved’
“Food-to-go has evolved rapidly in recent years and continues to do so, with the category becoming increasingly premium as consumers become more quality and health conscious,” said Wayne Greensmith, marketing controller for Cranswick Food On The Go.
“We are delighted to have found a retail partner that shares our passion and vision for the category. Together with WHSmith and Fresh to Store, we look forward to taking a collaborative approach to developing innovative new products and formats for the Munch range.”
Meanwhile, Shore Capital analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley have released a statement applauding the positive progress made by Cranswick, including its £206M capital investment over the past eight years.
“In FY [financial year] 2017 we estimate £45M [capital investment] which is 1.9x depreciation – and yet the business remains barely indebted (FY2017F forecast debt of £8.9M),” said Black and Shirley.
“Such an outcome reflects the value-adding capabilities of the company alongside the benefit of positive operational gearing that has followed generally robust volume growth.”
‘Very high class act’
They added: “All in all, Cranswick is a very high class act; an investment proposition that merits the premium stock rating afforded to its equity.”
They went on to praise Cranswick’s Benson Park cooked poultry processing facility in Hull, acquired in October 2014 for £17.7M.
The facility processes chicken primarily (95%) for the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors, and supplies catering outlets such as Eat, Itsu, Pret a Manger and Wasabi, as well as ingredients for supermarket sandwiches and rolls.
Since the acquisition of Benson Park, Cranswick has expanded its commitment to the British poultry sector with the acquisition of vertically integrated Crown Chicken in Norfolk for £40M in April.
Cranswick’s results for the year ended March 31 2016 showed profit before tax up 11% to £58.7M on sales up 6.6% to £1,069.6M.