Fruit and vegetable wholesaler Stuart’s Foods has acquired competitor S Clift Grimsby Ltd in a deal potentially worth £500,000.
Stuart’s Foods says the purchase of the rival north of England company is part of its strategy to become the “go-to” brand for quality and ethically-sourced ingredients in the region.
More acquisitions could follow as the supplier plans to take over other complementary businesses like food wholesalers, bakers and delis.
The Scarborough-based firm –– which supplies more than 525 tonnes of potatoes annually to its customer base alongside other fruits and vegetables –– will double in size, expand into new products and territories, following the S Clift deal.
It will maintain the S Clift name because of its rich heritage and pledges to invest half a million pounds into the operations over the next five years, including modernisation of equipment, upgrades, setting up industry food handling accreditations and buying new refrigerated vans.
The deal will extend the company’s reach, to include major towns like Hull, York, Lincoln, Harrogate, Thirsk, Northallerton, Whitby, Malton and Skegness, according to Stuart’s managing director Damian Howarth.
“We’ve built up a strong understanding of the catering trade over the past four decades and we’re passionate about promoting and supporting the whole healthy eating agenda,” he says.
“Our direct relationships with growers and other quality suppliers in our region mean we are able to source the best quality ingredients and deliver them to our clients with minimum road miles – straight from field to fork.
“Many of our local authority clients in particular have quite strict requirements around food standards, and this means that we are able to take care of this for them and help them meet their targets.”
Originally established in 1986, Stuart’s Foods is run by Damian and his sister Samantha, supported by Damian’s wife Michelle and a team in Scarborough. Its portfolio includes hotels, restaurants, local authorities, food producers and staff canteens, serving more than 800 clients on a daily basis.
“It was a natural fit for us, as a very customer focused business with a strong reputation and heritage like our own. Acquiring S Clift now gives us an opportunity to cross-fertilise between them in Lincolnshire and us in Yorkshire,” adds Howarth.
“Our existing business benefits from a new set of suppliers and customers, while we can introduce new product lines into S Clift, to enhance its offering, as well as bringing some of its infrastructure, systems and processes into line with contemporary requirements.
“We’re proud to say that Stuart’s Foods has gone from strength to strength over the past 30 years since our parents set it up and this deal represents the beginning of what we hope will be a phase of serious expansion through acquisition.”