Fruit producer and processor Fourayes in Bicknor, near Sittingbourne, sold 'for millions' to Puratos

The UK's largest grower and processor of fruit, Sittingbourne-based Fourayes. has been sold to a multinational food giant in a multi-million pound deal.

The family-run business, first started back in 1953, has been acquired by the UK arm of Belgium-based Puratos - a company with a presence in 100 countries worldwide and a turnover of €2billion (£1.75bn).

Fourayes is the UK's largest producer and processor of fruit
Fourayes is the UK's largest producer and processor of fruit

Puratos UK, based in Buckingham, specialises in providing services and ingredients to customers in the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate industry worldwide

Fourayes' boss, Phil Acock, the third-generation owner and current chairman, will remain with the firm in a non-executive role.

All staff at Fourayes have been assured their jobs are safe and that the business will continue to be run "on much the same lines" as before.

The firm is a fruit processor and commercial jam manufacturer for bakeries, desserts and dairy. Its products include fruit fillings, industrial jams, processed English Bramley apples and mincemeat – all manufactured at its site on its 100-acre Bramley apple orchard. in Bicknor.

Phil Acock said “With 69 years of history, I’m sure you can imagine the decision to allow Puratos to acquire Fourayes was not one taken lightly. I felt strongly that any business taking over Fourayes should have the same passion, the same family values and the same belief in its people. Then Puratos came along and ticked all the right boxes.

Julia Darvill, managing director at Puratos UK and Phil Acock, managing director at Fourayes
Julia Darvill, managing director at Puratos UK and Phil Acock, managing director at Fourayes

"As businesses, Fourayes and Puratos are aligned in their goals and they’re both resolute in their dedication to adding value for customers and innovating for good. We wholly believe that together, we are stronger, and the bringing together of these two ingredient powerhouses has untold potential.

"I am confident the synergies will unlock further growth and value for our customers and help them to cater to the call for healthy options, transparency, and integrity from increasingly conscientious consumers.”

Julia Darvill, managing director of Puratos UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Fourayes into the Puratos family. Our relationship with Fourayes first took root back in February, when we partnered up to launch a unique range of real fruit and vegetable pieces, and in the succeeding months our connection has grown even deeper.”

Fourayes had hired the Kent office of accountant and business advisors MHA in 2020 to boost its business and last year it brokered a deal with Puratos.

Due diligence was undertaken by KPMG.

Fourayes will now become part of Puratos
Fourayes will now become part of Puratos

The value of the takeover has not been revealed but is said to run into "many millions of pounds".

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