Golden girl shows midas touch as Quorn bites back

Rebecca AdlingtonRebecca Adlington
Rebecca Adlington
CELEBRITY endorsement from Olympic swimming star Rebecca Adlington helped Quorn Foods make a splash following the £205m buyout at the North Yorkshire company.

The meat-free food manufacturer was stuck in the slow lane under its previous ownership with sales falling in 2011.

But Quorn raced to a podium finish in 2012, claiming a rise in sales of 20 per cent, making it one of the fastest-growing grocery brands in Britain.

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Chief executive Kevin Brennan said: “We are delighted with our progress since becoming a stand-alone business.”

Annual figures to be published this week will show turnover of £131.6m.

The Stokesley-based company said it has added three million new customers and delivered average sales growth of three per cent since its acquisition by private equity firm Exponent.

Mr Brennan said: “The continued trend towards eating less meat has been a significant factor within this growth. With health, price and quality issues around meat still top of people’s minds, this trend is only going to continue and will further fuel Quorn’s growth in the long term.”

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Quorn reported pre-tax profits of £10.8m in 2012, which it said was up £2m on a like-for-like basis.

Mr Brennan added: “Our profit increase is particularly pleasing given the backdrop of commodity price rises, and has been driven by significant capital investment to drive the efficiency of our supply chain.

“We have chosen to reinvest these gains into marketing to capture the current opportunity and drive faster growth moving forward.”

Quorn has spent £15m on marketing in the last two years, covering TV advertising, the endorsement deal with Adlington and various public relations activities.

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It also invested £5m to improve the efficiency of its supply chain.

Quorn’s core ingredient is a plant protein that replicates the texture and taste of meat; it is a naturally occurring fungus, similar to a morel or a truffle.

The company employs around 600 people and exports to 12 countries, including Australia and the USA. Exponent bought Quorn from Premier Foods in 2011, helping to trim the food giant’s £1.37bn debt pile.