Supermarket chain Morrisons has acquired Chippindale Foods, a supplier of free-range eggs.
The supermarket chain said the acquisition meant it would make even more of its own fresh food and would enable it to bring forward the date at which all of Morrisons’ eggs come from non-caged hens. It is currently committed to achieving that by 2025.
Morrisons claimed it was already the largest supermarket customer for British farmers. It said it made most of its own fresh food in 17 manufacturing sites and 491 stores, including bakery, seafood, meat, fruit and veg, flowers and chilled processed products.
The addition of the North Yorkshire-based Chippindale Foods business would enable the retailer to work closely with egg farmers to support a sustainable supply chain, hen welfare and egg quality, it said.
Md Nick Chippindale will stay with the business and the 54 staff employed at Chippindale Foods’ site at Flaxby, North Yorkshire, will become Morrisons staff.
The amount paid in the deal was not disclosed.
“The addition of Chippindale Foods to our fresh food manufacturing business will give us the opportunity to build on our deep relationships with British farmers and become even more competitive for our supermarket and wholesale customers,” said Andrew Thornber, Morrisons’ manufacturing director.
In January, Morrisons posted strong results for the Christmas period, despite rising ingredients costs. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, were up 2.8% in the 10 weeks to January 7 this year.
Morrisons appointed Unilever’s refreshment division president Kevin Havelock as executive director in December. This new role was effective from this month (February).
Morrisons has more than 100,000 staff in 491 stores serving over 11M customers every week. Its headquarters are in Bradford.
Meanwhile, Clive Black head of research at stockbroker Shore Capital called it another “cracking deal” for the supermarket chain ahead of its preliminary results on March 14.
He said: “The deal is not likely to do more than marginally nudge ahead our future financial expectations for the group, which we shall re-visit with the preliminary results. However, the acquisition further underscores Morrisons’ vertical integration, brings more control into the business, potentially enhances its manufacturing contribution – which can be invested into product and price – and, in this specific case, brings forward the date at which all of the group’s eggs will come from non-caged hens. As such, we see this small deal as a potentially cracking one.”