SK Chilled Foods Our Mini Toad in the Hole

Source: SK Chilled Foods

Mini Toad in the Hole

The Compleat Food Group has acquired party food specialist SK Chilled Foods and dips and deli fillings maker Zorba Foods from The Entrepreneurial Food Group.

The two businesses, acquired for an undisclosed sum, have a combined turnover of more than £160m.

Compleat said the latest strategic acquisitions complement its significant existing market share within the branded and private label chilled Mediterranean-deli and olives and antipasti categories, held by its Unearthed brand.

They also join a growing portfolio including bakery brands Pork Farms, Wall’s Pastry, and Wrights Food Group, and plant-based brands Squeaky Bean, Vadasz, and Palace Culture, which collectively employ upwards of 3,800 staff across 10 sites in the UK.

Compleat has recently has stated an ambition to become the UK’s number one chilled prepared food company, with industry veteran Tom Riley appointed as CFO to help support growth targets.

Teesside-based SK Chilled Foods was formed in 1987, becoming part of The Entrepreneurial Food Group in 1999 and growing to hold around 40% of the market share for private label party foods outside of the Christmas period.

Its workforce of over 770 people produce a range of high-quality, globally inspired party foods including Indian, Oriental, Tex Mex, Mediterranean, and traditional British favourites. Among its offerings are bakery items such savoury tarts, dough balls, prawn toast, savoury muffins, loaded baguettes, croque monsieur, and mini toad in the hole.

Zorba Foods, meanwhile, was formed in 1976 and now employs nearly 380 people at its site near Ebbw Vale in South Wales. Having started out creating authentic Greek houmous, it has expanded its range to cover Greek, traditional, Tex Mex and Asian-inspired dips and sauces, as well as soups, for retail and foodservice. It holds around 25% share of the private label dips market and became part of the Entrepreneurial Food Group in 2003.

Nick Field, The Compleat Food Group CEO

Source: The Compleat Food Group

The Compleat Food Group CEO Nick Field

Compleat CEO Nick Field revealed plans to continue investment in both companies to extend their respective capabilities, which he said would allow for further innovation and inspiration within their categories. “For The Compleat Food Group, these acquisitions accelerate our commitment to build on our breadth of capability, increase our category leadership position, and deliver more excitement and interest to delight our consumers, driving sustained growth in the sector,” he added.

Jeremy Faulkner, CEO of both SK and Zorba, said: “At the heart of both SK Foods and Zorba is a commitment to real food values. It’s what our reputations have been founded on and why we are able to say that we are category leaders. With The Compleat Food Group, we have found a natural partner who not only shares our values, but also the ambition to invest and support us in driving further innovation and growth for our categories and key partners.”

Compleat is backed by private equity firm PAI Partners, with its most recent financial results for the 52 weeks ended 25 March 2023 posting group revenue of £696.4m, up nearly a fifth on the £587.4m in sales generated during the previous year. It made a £30.9m loss for the period due to a challenging macro-economic environment impacted by inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.