UK – Producer and distributor of South Asian foods in the UK and continental Europe, Vibrant Foods has acquired paneer manufacturer Everest Dairies in a move to expand its Asian food portfolio.
Paneer, also popularly known as Indian cottage cheese, refers to a non-fermentative, non-melting, and non-renneted type of cheese that is obtained by fruit- or vegetable-derived acid and heat coagulation of milk.
It forms an important ingredient in Indian traditional cuisine as it is used in combination with other vegetables to prepare gravy, semi-dry, and dry dishes.
UK’s paneer maker Everest Dairies is based in Leicester and also produces natural set yogurts for sale to retailers and the foodservice sector.
Following its acquisition, the company which employs 43 people will become part of a wider portfolio of Asian food brands including TRS and East End.
Everest’s addition will help Vibrant expand beyond its core offering of pulses and spices and better position it to capitalise on the demand for protein-rich, meat-free products.
The deal extends Vibrant Foods’ dairy range at a time when the company says paneer is attracting “unprecedented demand” across Europe.
Fusion of inter-regional tastes and cuisines, penetration of paneer in western fast-foods, growing population and changing dietary habits currently represent some of the key factors driving demand of this product, according to a report by Research and Markets.
Everest co-founders Haroon Shaikh and Inayat Fatiwala will support the brand’s transition into the Vibrant Foods stable in the coming months, before focusing on their other business interests.
“Haroon and Inayat have built an exceptional business over the last two decades. Paneer is a staple of Asian cooking, and their product stands out for its superb quality and engaging brand,” said Rohit Samani, executive chairman of Vibrant Foods.
“Everest has an outstanding reputation across the ethnic foods sector and its range delivers strong customer loyalty. Paneer is fast attracting fans across all cultures and countries in Europe and this provides a real opportunity as we invest in their next chapter.”
Everest Dairies co-founder and managing director, Haroon Shaikh, added: “It has been a wonderful 23 years building this business. As a family, we have seen our brand reach more and more homes.
There’s a massive opportunity for paneer to find new fans across Europe, as cuisines and cultures fuse, and meat-free eating becomes the norm.”
Soon after its establishment last year, Vibrant Foods announced its acquisition of Cofresh Snack Foods (CSF).
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