Hull-based vegetable supply group acquires Saxon Foods

Pictured are Steven Humphrey, left, MD of Tuber Group, and Andrew Hayes, MD of Abbeydale Food Group

Tuber Group, based near Hull, has acquired plant-based convenience foods manufacturer Saxon Foods in Scunthorpe from the Abbeydale Food Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Having acquired Country Chef in 2011 and renamed it Saxon Foods, Abbeydale Food Group has developed it from a B2B business serving food manufacturers into a major provider of added value frozen vegetables, supplying most of the UK’s leading supermarkets and wholesalers as well as the food service market. Its products are also sold into continental Europe.

The company’s range of allergen free frozen products includes jacket potatoes, mint and chilli peas, mushy pea pots, potato skins, healthy baked chips, and curry sauce pots. Saxon Foods is based in Scunthorpe and employs an 80-strong team.

The acquisition of Saxon Foods, which completed on November 5, 2021, broadens Tuber Group’s offering. Based in Hessle, the company was founded in 2017 by Steven Humphrey to supply potatoes to food processors and packers in the UK. It procures a wide range of fresh and frozen produce for food processors and food service businesses worldwide. The group operates in the UK, Spain, Egypt, Asia, USA and Africa. It supplies over 30 different fresh and frozen food commodities at any one time, ranging from its own brand ‘Chefs Best’ mayonnaise to potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and citrus.

Following the purchase of the Saxon Foods business and its  accredited BRC AA grade processing facility, Tuber Group will retain the Saxon Foods trading name and all jobs at the North Lincolnshire site have been transferred to the new owner.

Steven Humphrey, managing director of Tuber Group, said: “Having started as a potato supplier, in recent years we have expanded our offering to include a diverse selection of fresh and frozen produce. The acquisition of Saxon Foods is a a great opportunity to build on the good work Abbeydale Food Group has done with the business and the fantastic team it has established.

“We believe we are best placed to drive the company’s continued development, taking it to the next level and adding significant value to the UK frozen food sectors with the benefit of our global procurement capabilities, as well as our plans for exporting added value cooked British potatoes products globally.

“We aim to double the current turnover within three years and, after achieving this, we will have established a sizeable operation that will be buying in excess of 250 tonnes of fresh potatoes and 150 tonnes of sweet potatoes every week.”

Andrew Hayes, managing director of Abbeydale Food Group, said: “After being part of Abbeydale for the last 10 years, we believe that Tuber Group is a natural home for Saxon, enabling the business to gain from the group’s purchasing benefits. The new owner also has some exciting plans to build on Saxon’s success and take it to the next stage in its development.

“The sale will also allow Abbeydale to focus on developing other parts of the group, including our Summit Foods business which has already doubled in the last 24 months.”

The advisers to Tuber Group included Mike Stocks of Smailes Goldie Accountants in Hull; Byron Swarbrick of James Legal Solicitors in Hull; and Phil Trueman of Reach Commercial Finance in Leeds.

Legal advisers to Abbeydale Group were Richard Naish and Kayleigh Watson of Walker Morris in Leeds; and financial advisers were Stamford Partners.

Tuber Group includes Tuber Produce Limited which has offices across the world and trades all types of fresh and frozen food commodities to clients globally, from the UK and  Europe to Australia. In addition, Prime Global Trade specialises in trading all types of food commodities worldwide, with a focus on citrus, avocados and nuts from Africa and South Africa.

The group also includes Tuber Produce USA Inc which is a stand-alone fresh and frozen food import/export business. From its base in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the company supplies thousands of tonnes of sweet potatoes a year directly to UK and European processors and retailers, as well as supplying clients across the US and, most recently, British strawberries to customers in New York.

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