Popchips Inc. will explore expansion into international markets after selling UK business to KP Snacks

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Popchips Inc. will explore expansion into international markets after selling UK business to KP Snacks
Better-for-you snack maker Popchips Inc. is selling its UK and European business to KP Snacks after five years of “whirlwind strong year after year growth” in the UK that led the brand to become the No. 1 growth crisp in the region, according to the company founder.

Keith Belling, who expanded the popular popped chip brand into the UK in 2012, explained to FoodNavigator-USA that the “really terrific offer”​ for an undisclosed sum represented a “unique opportunity and a win-win for both sides.”

For Popchips Inc., the deal means additional resources to focus on building the business in North American and other international markets where it will continue to own and operate the brand.

“In the US, the business has grown and done really well and we have this great momentum with the recent launch of Nutter Puffs,”​ which followed the launch of the wildly popular Galaxy Puffs, and “the thought behind this deal is that we can take these resources and extra time and apply them to building these brands,”​ Belling explained.

In addition, he noted, “there is starting to be a lot of focus from other international markets where we have other interesting opportunities, but we just haven’t had the bandwidth to purse until now.”

And finally, the deal will allow Popchips Inc. to continue to innovate, which is one of its strongest attributes as illustrated by the company’s most recent launch of Nutter Puffs​, which are peanut butter and chocolate flavored puffs that satisfy both sweet and savory cravings plus pack a protein punch.   

That launch followed the playful introduction of Galaxy Puffs​, which not only feature Star Wars characters on the bags, but also in them with specialized shapes that actually look like the characters and other iconic elements of the movies.

KP Snacks rounds out its portfolio

For KP Snacks, the acquisition of Popchips Ltd., “significantly strengthens our permissible and better for you propositions”​ at a time when consumers increasingly are looking for healthier snacks, company CEO Mark Thorpe said in a statement.

He added that as the fastest growing scale snacks manufacturer, KP Snacks is well positioned to help expand Popchips beyond the UK and into Europe more widely, which Belling said has significant potential but which he did not push into despite high interest from the markets.

Popchips Managing Director of Europe Will Bowler, his team and co-manufacturer will work closely with KP Snacks to integrate the brand into their business, Thorpe said, noting that Bowler and the Popchips team have done “a great job growing the brand and its distribution over the last few years.”

Belling also praised Bowler as a “great hire and a really good leader who knows how to build good teams.”

Popchips is latest in KP Snacks shopping spree

KP Snacks’ acquisition of Popchips Ltd. is the latest in a spree of deals to expand its snack portfolio.

The most recent was the purchase in May of premium snack brand Tyrells from The Hershey Company, also for an undisclosed sum, that brought not only the popular chip brand but Tryells’ head office and two manufacturing sites in the UK as well as US manufacturing capabilities and the Aroma Snacks business in Germany and Yarra Valley Snack Foods in Australia.

Prior to that purchase, KP Snacks snapped up the UK Butterkist popcorn business from Tangerine Confectionary for an undisclosed amount. That deal also brought it a manufacturing facility in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England and 140 employees who were absorbed in the deal.

Together these acquisitions build out KP Snack’s savory and better-for-you offerings as a balance to its other brands, including POM-BEAR, Nik Naks, McCoy’s, Hula Hoops and others.

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