Karro owners acquired by Canadian protein producer

Eight Fifty Food Group, which owns pork processor Karro, has been purchased by Canadian multi-protein producer Sofina Foods Inc. 

Eight Fifty is a leading supplier of both branded and own-label seafood and pork. The pork division is one of the largest processors and suppliers of products across the UK and Ireland, while the seafood division is the largest provider of chilled and frozen products across the UK, including the Young’s brand. Eight Fifty employs around 8,300 people, across 23 manufacturing sites.

The group was created in 2019 after international private equity firm CapVest, which acquired the Karro Food Group in 2017, purchased Young’s Seafood in 2019. Eight Fifty later consolidated five other protein businesses from across Europe to create what is today a leading European multi-protein specialist.

Funds managed by CapVest Partners have now agreed the sale of Eight Fifty to Sofina Foods for an undisclosed consideration.

Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and leading manufacturers of primary and further processed protein products for both retail and foodservice customers. It currently operates 21 different sites and employs approximately 5,000 people, producing various well-known brands in Canada, including Cuddy; Lilydale; Janes; Mastro; San Daniele; Fletcher’s, Vienna and Zamzam. 

Eight Fifty will remain under the leadership of Di Walker and will complement Sofina Food’s existing leading North American platform. As Europe’s multi-protein specialist, it will continue to provide sustainable, high-quality food products while focussing on growth, the company said.

The new company will have over 13,000 employees globally across 44 sites and near $6B in annual revenue.

The transaction is subject to approval from regulatory authorities.

Jason Rodrigues, Partner at CapVest, said: “We’ve created a leading European multi-protein business through a combination of strategic investment in our core asset base and complementary acquisitions of fantastic national champions.

Eight Fifty delivers best-in-class products to our customers and consumers and we are all very proud of what Di Walker and her team have achieved over the last four years.  We’re confident that Eight Fifty will continue to flourish under Sofina Food’s ownership.”

Di Walker, CEO of Eight Fifty, said: “We began this journey as a UK-only pork supplier doing less than £500 million in sales and after several years of transformational organic and acquisitive progress are now the European multi-protein specialist with over £2 billion in sales.

“This transaction and the interest in Eight Fifty is a great reflection on the quality of the business and testament to the work that CapVest and our entire management team have completed. We’re very excited to join Sofina Foods to deliver on their ambitious future growth plans.”

Michael Latifi, Founder and Executive Chairman of Sofina Foods, said: “As a leading Canadian multi-protein specialist, this acquisition allows Sofina Foods to continue on our path of ambitious expansion. Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and we have created a solid global foundation for continued growth.

“With a history of excellence in food production and processing spanning over 25 years, the strong brands of Eight Fifty Food Group align perfectly with our prominent brands and our shared future vision.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.