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East Anglian dog food brands create £24m turnover business

PUBLISHED: 11:05 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:44 28 October 2020

Skinner's factory in Stradbroke, Eye, has bought the majority shareholding in Norfolk-based Naturediet  PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Skinner's factory in Stradbroke, Eye, has bought the majority shareholding in Norfolk-based Naturediet PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A dog food maker has snapped up another family-run operation in East Anglia to create a giant £24m turnover business with a combined workforce of 90 people.

Entrepreneur Roger Skinner who has bought a majority stake in a Norfolk dog food business  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEntrepreneur Roger Skinner who has bought a majority stake in a Norfolk dog food business Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk-based dry dog food manufacturer Skinner’s – one of the UK’s oldest dog food brands – says its acquisition of a majority shareholding in Norfolk natural wet dog food operation NatureDiet, could open up “significant” future growth.

The deal paves the way for “a unique vertically-integrated branded dog food business based in East Anglia, deeply rooted in heritage and driven by family values, and a compelling ‘made by us story’”, it said.

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Skinner’s – a 19m turnover business based in Stradbroke presided over by entrepreneur Roger Skinner – and £4.5m turnover Naturediet in Ickburgh will continue to operate across the two sites.

The enlarged Skinner’s group says it has ambitious future growth plans with several strategic initiatives planned for 2021.

Robin Orrow of NatureDiet whose family's shareholding is being bought out by Skinner's  Picture: SONYA DUNCANRobin Orrow of NatureDiet whose family's shareholding is being bought out by Skinner's Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Skinner’s has invested in the deal alongside Daniel Masters, managing director of Naturediet. Skinner’s has acquired a majority shareholding in Naturediet, enabling the founding Orrow family to exit the business.

Skinner’s is a leading manufacturer of branded dry working dog food and its main range is Field & Trial which can trace its roots back as far as 1688. It operates from a state-of-the-art extrusion plant in Stradbroke.

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Naturediet operates its own state-of-the-art wet “steam cooked” facility and has recently invested in two highly innovative Tetra Pak carton filling lines.

From left, Daniel Masters, managing director of Naturediet and Tim Hansell, chief executive of Skinner’s  Picture: SKINNER'SFrom left, Daniel Masters, managing director of Naturediet and Tim Hansell, chief executive of Skinner’s Picture: SKINNER'S

The new partnership will look to strengthen the group’s sustainability credentials, with a packaging refresh and new product lines due to roll out next year.

Skinner’s chairman Roger Skinner said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Naturediet and its team into the Skinner’s group. By combining Skinner’s and Naturediet, we are bringing together expert manufacturing capabilities across both dry and wet dog food, which should unlock significant future growth and new product development opportunities for both brands. This is an exciting time in Skinner’s history.”

Skinner’s chief executive Tim Hansell said Naturediet operated one of the most technologically advanced wet manufacturing facilities in Europe and was one of the first pet food brands in Europe to invest in the highly innovative and sustainable Tetra Pak carton packaging format.

“In the years ahead, we believe the consumer will increasingly look to move away from plastic pouches, plastic trays and tin cans to more environmentally sustainable packaging solutions such as Tetra Pak cartons. We believe that Naturediet has a great future as part of the Skinner’s group,” he said.

Skinner's dog foods factory in Stradbroke, Eye  Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOODSkinner's dog foods factory in Stradbroke, Eye Picture: JAMIE HONEYWOOD

Mr Masters said they were “delighted” to be partnering up with Skinner’s.

“Skinner’s is a family owned business, with a deep heritage in our industry and a shared vision and values. Both businesses are based in East Anglia, with a compelling “made by us” story built around heritage, quality ingredients and low food miles. Skinner’s is the perfect partner for us and we are excited about the new product development plans which are already in progress.”

A spokeswoman said: “Both Skinner’s and Naturediet are businesses with deeply rooted family values, and heritage at the core. The strategic partnership will amplify our respective strengths and skillsets, so that collectively we are able to generate better results and grow at a faster pace.

“As with every new venture, we will need to re-assess thoroughly all areas of our organisation. This includes our employee base so that we can work as part of our enlarged group in a functional and successful way.”


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