London Food Corporation acquires gluten-free firm Big Oz Industries

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

In 2018 the free-from market was growing at 37% and worth £837m, according to Mintel
In 2018 the free-from market was growing at 37% and worth £837m, according to Mintel

Related tags Ambient Bakery Ingredients & nutrition Finance

London Food Corporation has acquired free-from food firm Big Oz Industries for an undisclosed sum, providing fresh impetus for it to grow its presence in UK and overseas markets.

Big Oz has been a pioneer in gluten-free cereals since its inception in 1999 and has since contributed significantly to the robust growth of this market in the UK. Its manufacturing facility based in Sunbury is the only exclusive production facility that processes and packs cereal grains free from all 14 allergens published by the Food Standards Agency. It produces puffed grains, crispy and soft flakes, oats, granola, healthy extruded snacks, and flours with finest of ingredients sourced from different parts of the world.

"With Big Oz, London Food Corporation has entered into a fast growing segment of British food manufacturing and allows us to further the cause of healthy living, choice of an increasingly growing number of consumers," ​said Lalit Premchandani, a director of London Food.

"Big Oz​ has an up-to-date plant, a skilled workforce and an established brand. With new ownership, we are confident that Big Oz is rightly poised to withstand challenges and take advantage of opportunities that Brexit may present. Our focus will be to grow this brand in the UK, as well as globally. We see the free-from food category as a symbol of wholesome nutrition, great taste and convenience for our consumers. We are committed to working closely with our partners to tailor our business model, such that we become the most preferred supplier in this category.”

UK and export markets

Clive Ball, who will be heading business development and national sales for Big Oz along with the technical and commercial team managers, will continue to manage the business under its new ownership. He commented: “We are now fully focused on increasing market penetration, bringing a wider variety to our consumers in the UK, and also pursuing opportunities coming from export markets that trust UK-based manufacturers."

London Food Corporation is a co-owned venture by four London-based partners who bring together a rich experience of working with large corporates in core manufacturing sectors along with investment banking experience. Their experience of turning around businesses for profitable growth will stand to benefit Big Oz and in turn, the UK’s free-from customers through a revitalised product range.

The free-from food market is rapidly growing in the UK. In 2018, the market growth was 37% valuing it at £837m, 39% of adults regularly purchased free-from food and drink, according to Mintel. At present, 81% of UK households follow some kind of free-from diet, with 1.3m households having chosen to go gluten-free. Mintel claimed the rise in this market sector was not only driven by allergies and health conditions, but also by consumers' search for alternative foods that were more nutritious, contributed to healthier living, and were friendlier to environment.

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