Samworth Bros snaps up stake in pie group

Samworth Brothers has acquired a minority stake in upmarket pie manufacturer, Higgidy with the option of increasing its stake in the business in the years to come.

Higgidy was formed in 2003 by husband and wife, Camilla Stephens and James Foottit in West Sussex. The firm started with four varieties of handmade pies and quiches, and now offers over 20 pies, quiches and slices.

Higgidy products is stocked in Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Boots, as well as Budgens, the Co-op, and Asda stores, and online at Ocado. Additionally, the individual quiches are available in the Food to Go section in Boots stores.

Higgidy will remain a separate business with its own manufacturing facilities. Flor Healy, Samworth Brothers CEO, will join the Higgidy Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Healy said, “The Higgidy team has been extremely successful over the past 16 years in growing a much-loved and contemporary premium consumer brand with strong retailer partnerships.

'Our own business already has a great track record in developing brands with distinctive identities and brand stories. We are also strong in savoury pastry and food-to-go and have been successful in innovating and developing these categories further in recent years.

'Our involvement in Higgidy will help build on these existing business strengths and open up significant new opportunities.

'We are also impressed by Higgidy’s success in developing a significant % of sales in vegetarian and vegan product lines and look forward to working with the Higgidy team on further innovation in such areas.”

Higgidy CEO, Mark Campbell said, “We love making feel good family food and our long-term ambition for Higgidy is to build an enduring British food business that we can all be proud of in the decades to come.

'We’ve always known that to achieve this in our sector we’d need to partner with a larger business at the right moment.

'With significant opportunities opening up for us in the market this feels like the exactly right moment and Samworth Brothers’ fit with our values & culture as well as our strategic alignment make them the exactly right partner.”

Higgidy saw significant growth and by early 2008 had already achieved a turnover of £3.2m with a workforce of 50 employees. It was in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 of fastest growing companies in the UK for two years running in 2009/2010, and in 2011, was chosen as the regional winner for the South in the HSBC Business Thinking initiative.