Tree of Life "bang on trend" for growth say new owners

Wessanen has sold its UK subsidiary Tree of Life UK to premium food sales, marketing and distribution specialist Petty Wood 

The Management Buy In (MBI) was finalized late yesterday (July 19) but had been the subject of industry speculation for some weeks.

Wessanen says the move is in line with its strategy to focus on “higher added value wholesale activities” in the Wessanen Europe Health Food Stores segment. In the UK, the company says its focus will focus on its branded grocery business Kallo Foods Ltd, with brands including Kallo and Whole Earth.

Petty Wood chief operating officer, John Weaver, will now head up the Tree of Life UK operation at its Newcastle-under-Lyme head office and warehouse. The company will continue to operate as a stand alone business,and the existing Tree of Life Management team will continue their roles within the business, supplemented by the MBI team.

Petty Wood’s chief executive officer, Mike Hogg, told Natural Products: “We’ve worked closely with Tree of Life for a number of years and been a big admirer. We see a great opportunity to grow the business, which is well positioned to develop from a position of strength and expertise, and has truly a fantastic facility at Newcastle.

“I’ve spent a long time in the food industry — 27 years at M&S and four years at Uniq. And if you ask me what is currently the most exciting opportunity in food, I’d say health and nutrition is right up there. The Tree of Life business is bang on trend to maximize this opportunity.

“Earlier today I spoke to the Tree of Life team, and I think there was a genuine delight that the company had been acquired by a team of investors with real energy, and expertise in their sector. I certainly came away elated by what I saw, and the people I met.

“There are exciting times ahead, We’ll be looking to support both the existing great range of products — currently totalling over 12,000 SKUs — and also proactively searching out innovative new products and new trends under the health and nutrition banner.”