Described by Fulfil’s owners as a “key milestone” in the development of the company, the Hershey investment follows on from Allied Irish Banks’ minority investment in 2018.
Headquartered in Dublin, Fulfil’s high-protein, low-sugar impulse snack-bar range has 11 varieties in 40g and 55g sizes.
The brand is said to have close to 100% distribution within the retail, convenience, petrol forecourt and sports nutrition channels in Ireland, and 52% weighted distribution in the UK.
Brian O’Sullivan, chief executive of Fulfil Holdings, said the brand had grown rapidly since its launch in 2016 and now outsold many traditional chocolate snack bar brands in the UK and Ireland.
He said: “This incredible success has come as a result of disrupting the traditional snacking market by delivering great-tasting bars with nutritional benefits – high protein, low sugar and essential vitamins.
“Our objective is to deliver great-tasting, nutritional snacking products to consumers worldwide.
“Over the last 18 months, we have built a highly capable management team and have developed an aggressive expansion strategy based on a thorough understanding of our target consumer.”
To help lead strategic growth, in April Fulfil appointed Dave Pogson as the company’s managing director for Great Britain.
In a career in food spanning 35 years, Pogson has worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises, Mondelēz and Carlsberg UK.
Hershey’s better-for-you strategy
In 2017, Hershey unveiled a strategy to expand its snacking portfolio with better-for-you snacks to complement its core brands, which include the likes of Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty.
At the time, the company said it would create opportunities in new occasions among new consumer segments and markets.
O’Sullivan said: “I am delighted that The Hershey Co, with its scale and knowledge of snacking built over 125 years, has seen the opportunity that Fulfil poses.
“Its investment will enable our expansion strategy and is an exciting milestone in what has already been the incredible journey of Fulfil.”
Law firm Jefferies acted as financial advisor to Fulfil Holdings in connection with the transaction.
In May, Fulfil launched a multi-million pound outdoor advertising campaign in London and Manchester. The campaign targeted 18- to 34-year-old commuters in rail, roadside and high street locations.