Tuber Group swoops for William Jackson Food Group’s fresh produce business


Rapidly expanding Hull food business Tuber Group has made a second acquisition in six months.

Fellow city firm William Jackson Food Group’s My Fresh subsidiary has been bought out, having added Scunthorpe-based Saxon Foods late last year.

The Bedfordshire-based fresh produce processor, together with its 150 staff, has been taken on in an undisclosed deal.

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Part of William Jackson Food Group since 2006, it is described as one of the UK’s leading suppliers of prepared vegetables to the business-to-business and food service sector.

Steve Humphrey, Tuber Group founder and owner, said: “This latest acquisition marks another exciting milestone in the development of Tuber Group as we continue to expand the range of food products we offer and optimise our global procurement capabilities.

“The addition of a well-established vegetable processor like MyFresh is a great fit for us given Tuber Group’s established position on the global vegetable trading stage, alongside our added-value potato manufacturing site, serving both retail and food service. It will give Tuber Group a great opportunity to grow the offering to MyFresh’s current customer base and drive sales in the B2B and food service sectors.”

The range includes peeled and chopped potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes and pureed products. It has a 150-strong team based at its British Retail Consortium Grade AA-accredited processing facility in Chicksands, which includes an anaerobic digestion plant on site, generating electricity from vegetable waste.

Steven Humphrey, left, managing director of Tuber Group, and Andrew Hayes, managing director of Abbeydale Food Group.
Steven Humphrey, left, managing director of Tuber Group, and Andrew Hayes, managing director of Abbeydale Food Group, pictured in November having agreed the deal for Saxon Foods in Scunthorpe.

Tuber, was founded in 2017 to supply potatoes to food processors and packers in the UK. It procures a wide range of fresh and frozen produce for food processors and food service businesses worldwide.

Since acquiring Saxon, it has added a range of allergen free frozen products to its portfolio.

Mr Humphrey, who operates out of Hessle, said: “Our intention is to invest heavily in the MyFresh site, installing cooking and freezing capabilities, alongside a high-care operation for storing high-risk foods such as dairy products, eggs, meat and seafood.

“This supports our aim to become the UK’s biggest ‘one stop shop’, supplying freshly prepared, cooked and frozen, and ready-to-eat vegetables, along with pureed products, to B2B, food service and retail clients.

“There’s a fantastic team at MyFresh and we’re looking forward to working with them as we take this great business on the next step of its journey. By building on MyFresh’s many years of knowledge and expertise of the fresh prep sector, we will drive it into new areas, such as ready-to-eat products, direct to retail, and aim to add significant value to the food sector as a whole through our innovative ideas.”

My Fresh was established in 1987, and prepared more than 35,000 tonnes of vegetables each year, supplied by trusted farmers from across the UK. The firm also sources some produce globally to ensure there is a robust year-round supply chain.

James Watson, chief executive of William Jackson Food Group, said: “This sale represents a great opportunity for MyFresh to join a like-minded business with expertise in fresh produce and plans to invest and expand into new markets. We’ve known some of our MyFresh colleagues for 16 years so it’s hard to say farewell, but I have no doubt that this opportunity is what MyFresh needs to thrive.”

The loss-making bakery giant had sold MyFresh Wigan to Agrial, owner of the Florette brand, five years ago. It had previously traded as Parripark and Hazeldene.

East Yorkshire-based James Legal supported Tuber in the complex acquisition, with four teams involved.

Senior solicitor Byron Swarbrick led on the purchase. He said: “Selling or buying a subsidiary company is always a complex matter, especially as there are numerous stakeholders involved, but Tuber have earned a lot of respect from all the parties they work with, and everyone collaborated superbly to get the deal over the line.”

Other advisors included Mike Stocks of Smailes Goldie Accountants in Hull and Phil Trueman of Reach Commercial Finance in Leeds.

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Read More: Tuber Group swoops for William Jackson Food Group’s fresh produce business

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