Nestlé acquires majority stake in German start-up

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé acquires majority stake in German start-up

Related tags Nestlé spices extracts functional beverage beverage

Nestlé Germany says it shares a “common path” with herb and spice manufacturer Ankerkraut, following the acquisition of a majority stake in the company earlier this month.

The food giant says the acquisition is a “consistent next step on Nestlé's journey into the future” ​and asserts it can learn a lot from Ankerkraut’s “agility, entrepreneurial spirit and omnichannel presence.”

Meanwhile, German start-up will benefit from Nestlé’s expertise and strong distribution network.

CEO of Nestlé Germany, Marc Boersch commented: “We can learn a lot from each other and bring together the best of both worlds! For example, how brands are built, trends are picked up and innovations are created, or how a portfolio can grow successfully. Ankerkraut with its strong omnichannel presence complements us very well.”

Growth opportunity

Hamburg-based Ankerkraut launched in 2013 and produces premium spice blends with authentic flavours, such as herbal tea and fenugreek.

Products are 100% free of flavour enhancers, preservatives, artificial colours, and other flavours and are sold direct to consumers through online channels, in Ankerkraut branded stores, and through other retail and specialist outlets mainly in Germany and Austria.

Husband and wife founders, Anne and Stefan Lemcke, secured investment from private-equity firm EMZ Partners in 2020, which bought a minority stake in the company.

EMZ Partners has now left the business and the couple maintains the latest partnership deal with Nestlé represents a “great”​ growth opportunity.

With the addition of Nestlé’s sales and marketing knowledge - and culinary expertise -  the company has the potential to target a much wider audience, they say.

“Nestlé has understood our brand – and the passion with which we have built it and want to continue to cultivate it. We look forward to bringing Ankerkraut's values and visions to the outside world together and with even greater leverage!"

Health focus

Nestlé is best known for Maggi seasonings and Thomy sauces, spreads, mustard, dressings, and oils - but is a relatively small purchaser of spices, including chilli, coriander, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and mustard seeds.

In contrast, Ankerkraut offers a broad range of herbs and spices for cooking, baking, and tea. Nevertheless, there are synergies between Maggi and Ankerkraut in their approach to consumer marketing and aspirational recipe ideas.

“The brand brings together people who want to cook well and delicious at home – I think that's great. Together, we will continue the success story of Ankerkraut,”​ says Boersch.

Nestlé maintains the partnership reflects the group’s ambition to transform its portfolio and focus on businesses with attractive growth prospects “that act on consumer trends​”, according to a Nestlé spokesperson.

“This acquisition further expands Nestlé’s portfolio with a premium food brand that offers consumers high quality products.”

Ankerkraut’s current management team, including Managing Directors Timo Haas and Alexander Schwoch, will continue to run the business independently and remain shareholders – along with the company founders.

The acquisition is subject to customary regulatory approval.

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