It's incredible how many food and drink businesses have been sold this year and how many are coming to market for 2018. Across all eating and drinking occasions, the investment is round the clock: Weetabix sold (breakfast), Pukka Herbs sold (morning tea), Grenande secondary management buy-out (lunchtime run), Addo Foods secondary management buy-out (evening supper), Brewdog growth investment (evening beer). And I can count a host of others rumoured to be in the market for next year: Bakkavor IPO, two crisp businesses, two natural food businesses, and a gluten-free business to name a few.
Food and drink is an interesting sector for growth. In a market saturated with competition, it's easy to try and create new branding techniques. There are common characteristics between up and coming brands in our ever-changing, fast-paced world. The three main characteristics these companies share are that they keep things simple, especially as they begin their venture; they continue to find ways to make sure that constant innovation is their main focus to keep changing the structure of business operations needed to keep customers' attention; and they are masterful with marketing strategies, especially their ability to catch and keep a customer’s attention up until purchase.
Why is food and drink an interesting 'safe haven' given Brexit uncertainty? Millennials are a key target for many brands given that busy lifestyles often leave little time for cooking. This is creating demand for food on-the-go at all times of the day and underpinning trends for health, indulgence and nutrition. And its worth remembering small purchases spend on food usually goes up in difficult times as consumers treat themselves on small luxuries while pulling back on bigger ones like cars and holidays.
So that's why food and drink is seeing its busiest time in M&A.