Hershey snaps up stake in fast-growing Irish snack brand

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fulfil's indulgently-flavored snacks are high in protein and low in sugar. Pic: Fulfil
Fulfil's indulgently-flavored snacks are high in protein and low in sugar. Pic: Fulfil

Related tags: Hershey company, Fulfil, Protein, Snack bars, low sugar, Mondelez, Cadbury, M&A

The Hershey Company has acquired a minority stake in Fulfil, which will place the star of the Irish protein snack bar sector in a whole new league.

The deal will give the Dublin-based snack producer a gateway into the lucrative US market, ‘creating opportunities in new occasions among new consumer segments and markets,’ according to Fulfil.

Fulfil’s snacks were not the first high protein bars on the Irish market but, in less than three years since its launch in 2016, it has become a market leader.

Turnover has doubled annually from €12m ($13.2m) in 2016, forecasted to reach €100m ($110m) this year. This would make it Ireland’s second-largest confectionary brand in terms of value, behind Cadbury/Mondelez.

The company has also been pursuing an ambitious expansion policy, launching in the UK last year and also selling in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Iceland.

Stellar journey

The company’s stellar journey has also certainly benefitted from the backing of Cadbury Ireland alum Barry Connolly, founder of Richmond Marketing, which is behind the success of brands like Red Bull and Fever Tree mixers.

Connolly bought out founders Niall McGrath and Tom Gannon last year, in a deal that valued Fulfil at €40m ($44m), following a dispute over how aggressively to pursue international expansion.

“Over the last 18 months, we have built a highly capable management team and have developed an aggressive expansion strategy based on a thorough understanding of our target consumer,”​ said Brian O’Sullivan, CEO of Fulfil Holding.

“I am delighted that The Hershey Company – with its scale and knowledge of snacking built over 125 years – has seen the opportunity that Fulfil poses.

“Its investment will enable our expansion strategy and is an exciting milestone in what has already been the incredible journey of Fulfil.”

Product portfolio

Fulfil produces 11 protein-packed bars that are low in sugar, in flavors such as Cookies & Cream, Lemon Zinger and Triple Chocolate Deluxe. Last year, it expanded its portfolio with the launch of a range of smaller 40g bars.

“Our objective is to deliver great-tasting, nutritional snacking products to consumers worldwide,” ​said O’Sullivan.

The deal will also give Hershey the opportunity to expand its presence in the European market where it is currently poorly represented.

The US-listed confectioner generates almost 90% of its sales in North America. Its international footprint are primarily in Asia, and South and Latin America.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Hershey

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