The big hitters in the UK biscuit sector have been busy over the past year with consolidation and major acquisitions re-shaping the industry's landscape, according to a new report by Leatherhead International.
The UK Food and Drink report 2007 gives an insight into the shifts within the biscuit sector which has been dominated by trading involving United Biscuits. United Biscuits (UB), which owns the market-leading McVities brand, acquired Portuguese firm Triunfo Productos Alimentares and Jacob's Biscuit Group from Danone in 2004 before being bought over by a private equity consortium including Blackstone and PAI for a reported £1.6 billion (€2.3bn) at the end of last year. Shortly before the buy-out, UB sold its lucrative Southern European operations to Kraft Foods for £575 million (€842m). The deal gave the US-based snack manufacturer 26 per cent of Spain's biscuit market and 37 per cent of the Portugal sector as well as the rights to Nabisco trademarks Oreo and Ritz in the EU. UBUK are market leaders in the savoury biscuit sector with a share 40 per cent while rival firm PepsiCo hold an 18 per cent share. According to the Leatherhead report, McVities is the top branded supplier in the UK with 23 per cent of sales last year. The Burton's group comes in at second place with a 15 per cent share with brands such as Cadbury's. Maryland Cookies, Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers.
Another brand in the UB portfolio - Jacobs Bakery - hold a 6 per cent share of the market value, just behind the Northern Foods owned Fox's Biscuits which has 9 per cent.