Global giant PepsiCo swoops for Pipers Crisps

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 6 Nov 2018

GLOBAL food and drinks giant PepsiCo has swooped for Pipers Crisps. 

The company behind leading British brands Walkers and Doritos has agreed an undisclosed deal to take over the flourishing northern Lincolnshire business it said it has coveted for some time.

Should the move be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority, PepsiCo plans to accelerate the growth of £11.4 million turnover Pipers, adding it will continue to develop and export the multi-award winning brand.

Ian Ellington, pictured right, general manager of PepsiCo UK, said the kettle-cooked, gourmet crisp range will complement PepsiCo’s existing savoury snacks portfolio.

He said: “Pipers share our uncompromising commitment to delivering on taste and quality and we’ve long-admired their entrepreneurial spirit. The Pipers’ brand has a strong proposition within the market, with stand-out taste, flavours and appeal.”

PepsiCo makes Walkers in Leicester and Skelmersdale, with Doritos in Coventry and Quavers in Lincoln, and employs 4,500 people across 10 sites in the UK.

It is understood Pipers would remain at Elsham Wold, where a contemporary head office sits alongside the production facilities by the A15, with 80 people employed there. However, the company was unable to confirm this ahead of a CMA decision.

PepsiCo, which can be traced back 120 years to the formulation of Pepsi Cola in a North Carolina pharmacy, entered the crisp market through the merger with Frito-Lay in the US in 1965. In the UK it bought Walkers in 1989, launching Doritos three years later. Tropicana, Copella and Quaker Oats were all acquired in the late Nineties and early Noughties. 

Pipers was established in 2004 by three entrepreneurs with farming interests - Simon Herring, James Sweeting and Alex Albone. It was seen as a new route to market for Lincolnshire potatoes, with ingredient provenance at the core of the business' ethos. It has more than 40 Great Taste Awards to its name and has been recognised as a top-performing business by both the Sunday Times and London Stock Exchange.

Pipers’ premium crisps are sold in the ‘out of home environment’, which includes pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels and farm shops, both in the UK and abroad. 

James McKinney, managing director of Pipers Crisps. 

The trio of original founders remain as three of the current directors in the business, and it made a pre-tax profit of £484,000 last year, with 16 per cent year-on-year sales growth. 

James McKinney, who was brought in as managing director of Pipers Crisps in 2014, said: “We’ve developed innovative products to suit evolving tastes while establishing a strong foothold in the market.

"PepsiCo’s commitment to accelerating the growth of the Pipers brand means more people will be able to enjoy the unique, award-winning flavour of Pipers crisps.”

It is envisaged the deal for Pipers could complete early next year if approved by the regulators.

Richard Naish, head of the food and drink team at Walker Morris,who advised Pipers' shareholders on the conditional sale, said: “Pipers Crisps is a well-established, quality brand in the crisp market and an attractive proposition for PepsiCo. The acquisition will help to build on that success and continue the development and export of the product.”

Pipers products are enjoyed in more than 40 countries. 

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