Burton’s said the deal was another important milestone in its strategy of focusing on high-quality baking.
Its business development strategy has enabled Burton’s to launch top confectionery brand Mars into the biscuits fixture, building a biscuits range worth more than £11m in retail sales in its first year. It has also grown its branded and own-label business.
The premium sector was one of the fastest-growing in the biscuit category as more consumers seek indulgence delivered by provenance, high-quality ingredients and engaging textures, the company said.
Thomas Fudge's operates a 3,300m2 factory and has the capability to make flatbreads, wafers, cookies, florentines, crackers and chocolate coating.
Nick Field, Burton’s Biscuit Co’s chief executive, said the acquisition of the premium biscuit supplier represented a “continued commitment and investment by Burton’s to extend our capability and bring new and exciting products to market in both the sweet and savoury premium segments”.
“Thomas Fudge’s is a great business with a fantastic portfolio of premium products and baking expertise handed down through generations. The bakery provides a hugely complementary production capability to Burton’s own bakeries, extending into the more premium and artisanal end of the category with their branded, retailer brand and Marmite products baked under licence."
Unilever announced the tie-up between its Marmite brand and Thomas Fudge’s in June last year.
"We are excited about the opportunity to develop these three important pillars and look forward to working with our retail partners to drive growth through innovation and excitement in the category,” said Field. “The move is also a hugely positive endorsement of the confidence our owner, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, has in Burton’s and it highlights their shared ambition with us to grow our business, enhancing our status and credentials as a leading baker of great biscuits and snacks."
Emma Davies, chief executive of Thomas Fudge's, which is based at Stalbridge in Dorset, said: “We’re really excited about becoming part of the Burton’s family as we enter our next phase of development as a business and would like to thank Livingbridge for their support in recent years.”
Thomas Fudge products are sold in selected Asda, Booths, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose stores across the UK, as well as through Ocado and farm shops and delis.