The new partnership will bring Everest Dairies into the Vibrant Foods portfolio, alongside recognised Asian food brands TRS, East End and Cofresh.
Already a producer of ghee and margarine, Vibrant’s acquisition of Everest’s brings the family-owned business’s expertise in producing paneer cheese – a fresh, non-aged, non-melting soft cheese used in Indian cooking – to the group.
Vibrant said it hoped to capitalise on a growing demand for protein-rich, meat-free products, a trend for fusions of what it described as ‘inter-regional tastes and cuisines’ and the penetration of paneer in Western markets.
Rohit Samani, executive chairman of Vibrant Foods, said: “Everest has an outstanding reputation across the ethnic foods sector and its range delivers strong customer loyalty. Paneer is fast attracting fans across all cultures and countries in Europe and this provides a real opportunity as we invest in their next chapter.
“It’s also our first brand that focuses on chilled grocery, and we are excited about how Everest can continue to propel the Vibrant family into new homes across the UK and Europe.”
Vibrant’s acquisition of Everest comes nine months after it acquired TRS Foods and East End Foods to create the ethnic foods group. In August last year, Vibrant increased production at the TRS factory in Southall and East End Foods West Bromwich by 50% to manage surging sales, sparked by the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Passing on the family business
Co-founders Haroon Shaikh and Inayat Fatiwala will support the transition of Everest into the Vibrant Foods stable over the coming months, before focusing on their other business interests moving forwards.
Everest Dairies managing director Shaikh added: “There’s a massive opportunity for paneer to find new fans across Europe, as cuisines and cultures fuse, and meat-free eating becomes the norm.
“We know that Vibrant Foods’ track record of investing and growing great family businesses is second-to-none. With their investment and expertise, the true potential of this brand can be met. I know they will do us proud.”
Everest Dairies employs 43 people and has remained independent and within the Shaikh and Fatiwala families, delivering consistent organic growth throughout its history. A major supplier of the foodservice sector, the company has managed to post revenue growth in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic due to strong retail sales.