Leeds Firm Symington’s snaps up rival Sammys

Posted on 11th Apr 2008

Leeds Firm Symington’s snaps up rival Sammys

LEEDS food business Symington’s has increased its domination of the UK cous cous market after buying the UK’s second biggest brand to add to its own marketing leading Ainsley Harriott range.


It has bought the cous cous packing division of Bristol-based First Quality Foods, including its Sammy’s brand, for an undisclosed sum.


The Sammy’s range has sold more than 30m packs since its introduction 10 years ago, and is now sold in more than 10 countries worldwide.


Symington’s chief executive, David Salkeld, said the strategic acquisition confirmed the firm’s commitment to developing the business in what he described as the “key” sector of flavoured dry foods “where we feel we can add value”.


Production of the Sammy’s brand will move to Symington’s manufacturing site in Beeston where it is expected to create additional jobs to the 400 already working there.


Symington’s was founded by William Symington in 1837, when he invented dry soup.


British troops added water to Symington’s pea flour to make soup during the Crimean War and the firm’s soups were supplied to Scott’s Antarctic expedition.


Mr Salkeld said the firm remained committed to Yorkshire and was searching out other potential acquisitions.


He added: “We are also investing heavily in new product design, doubling our team and completing a £2m capital equipment spend in our Beeston factory.”


As well as soups and cous cous products, the modern Symington’s is a leading manufacturer of other dried foods including rice, pasta, snacks, gravy and stuffing.


First Quality Foods said the sale of Sammy’s to Symington’s was a strategic move to enable it to focus on its core brands.


Managing director, Sam Jacobi, said: “We’d taken the Sammy’s brand as far as we could. Symington’s seemed the natural home for Sammy’s.”