First Milk has taken another step into the premium functional food sector with the acquisition of leading sports nutrition company CNP Professional.
CNP Professional is headquartered in Manchester where it markets and sells a broad range of quality products for the sports nutrition market. Its products are targeted at dedicated sportsmen and sportswomen and are currently sold through a range of channels. The company also works directly with a range of professional athletes across a wide spectrum of competitive sports including football, rugby, boxing, cycling, martial arts, triathlon and motor sports.
First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe explained the rationale behind the purchase, "Last September we set up a joint venture with the New Zealand company Fonterra to produce premium whey proteins to go into functional food products for consumers across Europe. That experience and the growth projections on functional foods sharpened our interest, and since last summer we have looked at a number of opportunities that would add value to our existing business.
"We were particularly attracted to the sports nutrition sector where the market in Britain has more than doubled in the last five years, with this strong growth predicted to be maintained over the next five years.
"When you dig into the main reasons for this growth, it is clear that more and more people are focusing on a healthy lifestyle, plus there is increasing recognition of the benefits of sports nutrition.
"Within the sports nutrition sector, CNP Professional stood out as the company that was the best fit for us due to its sector credibility, focused product range, and the fact that it appeals to both mainstream and dedicated sports nutrition users. Clearly, the London Olympics that start in less than 90 days also provides us with a sales opportunity for sports nutrition products.
"The reason we're all at First Milk is to build a business that passes back good returns to our farmers in England, Scotland and Wales. While we are rooted in Britain, we have an international perspective and that helps us to see global trends like the increasing focus by consumers on health and nutrition, and take advantage of these trends to shape and diversify our business.
"With the acquisition of CNP Professional, we believe that we have invested in a strong company in a rapidly growing sector, and all of this will allow us to drive more cash for our farmer shareholders."