The two businesses are the leading suppliers of bake-at-home products to supermarkets and other grocery retailers —Cérélia is the largest manufacturers of bake-at-home dough products in the UK, while Jus-Rol is the best-selling brand in the bake-at-home dough category. Combined, their sales account for two-thirds of such products to shoppers in the UK.
Prior to the merger on 31 January 2022, Jus-Rol’s branded products competed against private label products supplied by Cérélia for space on supermarket shelves.
The CMA argued that following the deal, Cérélia would produce and sell both the Jus-Rol products and private label products, leaving retailers with fewer alternatives.
It was therefore concerned that the loss of the Jus-Rol business as an independent player could lead to increased prices to grocery retailers – and ultimately consumers – and lower quality products.
Sorcha O’Carroll, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said: “Millions of people across the UK regularly use bake-at-home dough products, whether to rustle up a mid-week pizza for dinner or to make breakfast pastries for their families on the weekend.
“Consumers should know they’re getting value for money and not overpaying for their grocery products, especially as the current cost-of-living crisis stretches people’s budget even further. That’s why we won’t hesitate to refer this investigation further if our concerns aren’t addressed.”
Cérélia now has 5 working days (started 30 May) to submit proposals to address the CMA’s concerns. If suitable proposals are not submitted, the CMA will progress to an ‘in-depth Phase 2 investigation’.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, food and drink ingredients producer Tate & Lyle revealed that it had “acquired substantially” all of the assets of Nutriati, an ingredient technology company developing and producing chickpea protein and flour.