Northern Ireland

Tayto crisp maker moves into premium popcorn


Tayto, the Tandragee-based crisp maker, has bought a London snack manufacturer and a majority stake in a popcorn company.

A 75% stake in Portlebay Popcorn brings Tayto into the premium popcorn market for the first time.

Portlebay will be run by its existing management team, independent of the main Tayto business.

The other deal involves Tavern Snacks - a firm which mainly serves the licensed trade in the greater London area.

Tavern sells crisps and nuts along with other bar snacks such as pickled eggs, mussels and cockles.

Posh popcorn

Image copyright Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Popcorn is an expanding segment of the UK snack market.

According to market research firm Mintel, sales grew by 169% between 2010 and 2015.

The market is being driven by premium-flavoured popcorn, rather than the bog-standard sweet or salty.

It's that premium market Tayto is aiming for with the Portlebay deal - its flavours include wasabi & ginger and crispy bacon & maple syrup.

Tayto chief executive Paul Allen said the company had been "really impressed with the innovation and enthusiasm of the Portlebay team".

Portlebay currently supplies stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Co-Op and a number of independent retailers, mainly in the south of England.

Image copyright Monkey Business Images
Image caption From popcorn to pickled eggs

Mr Allen said the Tavern deal allows the firm to "diversify both by adding another brand and also by introducing their range of nuts to our portfolio".

"We are now producing crisps in Tandragee which are being sold under the Tavern name all around London," he added.

The price of the two deals has not been disclosed.

In 2006 Tayto bought most of the Golden Wonder crisp company out of administration.

The Tayto Group has been owned by the Hutchinson family since 1956 and is the third largest snack manufacturer in the UK.

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