Spar wholesaler A.F. Blakemore has acquired online wholesaler and retailer Vegan Store.
The acquisition, driven by the growth in the vegan market, adds a purely online division to A.F. Blakemore’s business structure.
The business, which was the UK’s first independent retailer of vegan products online, stocks vegan food, drink, healthcare and beauty products from countries around the world, including the UK, Australia, America and the Far East.
As part of the agreement, Vegan Store founder Lisa Ruskin will be joining A.F. Blakemore in a consultative role, continuing to support the Vegan Store proposition.
Group commercial managing director Jerry Marwood said: “The vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is predicted to be the choice of up to 25% of the British population by 2025. By acquiring Vegan Store we are adding a niche brand to our portfolio that we will be able to develop and grow in line with forecasted market growth.
“We now have access to some of the best vegan products in the world, such as Go Max Go candy bars and Vegg, but in addition we can continue to create innovative new product development through Vegan Store’s Golden Crunch brand.”
Marwood added that this move is part of the A.F. Blakemore’s focus on innovation.
“A.F. Blakemore has innovation at its heart, and throughout the company’s 100-year history, keeping ahead of customer trends and changing consumer behaviour have been central to our success,” he added. “Since its foundation in 2000, Vegan Store has been at the forefront of the vegan revolution and we are delighted to be bringing its product range and ethos into the Blakemore group.
“New vegan products will present our SPAR stores, Philpotts stores and partners in retail, wholesale and foodservice with a fantastic opportunity to attract new customers, as well as to provide innovative alternatives for existing ones.”