Strong Roots blew its competitors out of the water with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 109.1% over the past two years, with second place taken by healthy and nutritional foods producer Grenade with a CAGR of 92.9% for the same period.
Third and fourth on this year’s list were taken by desserts manufacturer Pots & Co (89.7% CAGR) and craft brewer Brewdog (57.9%) respectively. Rounding out the top five was convenience food manufacturer On a Roll, reporting a 47.8% CAGR.
All companies listed on this year’s list achieved at least double-figure growth, reflecting the ability of these businesses to understand changing consumer appetites and to tap into the top trends driving the industry, both in the UK and internationally.
Alantra partner and head of UK Food & Beverages said: “This year’s ranking offers a glimpse into how the most agile brands are exploiting the fast-moving marketplace. It is their commitment to product quality and customer service that, in turn, is driving dramatic improvements in their sales.”
One of the key consumer trends recognised among the top 50 fastest-growing food and drink firms was an increased demand for healthy products. While Strong Roots capitalised on the rapid growth of flexitarianism over the past year, Harrogate Water (ranked 37 with a CAGR of 24.3%) took advantage of the introduction of new taxes on high-sugar products in the UK.
Authenticity and affordability
Authenticity – fuelled by demand for high-quality artisan products – benefited 34th-ranked St James Smokehouse (24.5% CAGR) and 38th-ranked Abergavenny Fine Foods (23.9% CAGR), while affordability saw the Cake Crew reach the 14th spot on the list with a 37.4% CAGR.
Alantra director Charles Lanceley added: “The fastest-growing brands in the food and beverage sector are highly skilled at identifying what their customers want and have captured the imagination of consumers by offering a product with a genuine point of differentiation.”
Meanwhile, Nestlé, Barilla, Mondelēz International, Danone and PepsiCo - last year's winner of the Food Manufacture Excellence Award for Training - have emerged as the top five global food and drink innovators, according to research by Nielsen.