Browns explains reasoning behind Hall’s purchase
Following its purchase of the Hall’s brand, finance director at Browns Food Group Alan Hill told MeatInfo.co.uk what will happen next for the brand.
Yesterday it was revealed that Browns Food Group, a supplier of fresh meat products, had agreed to acquire the Hall’s brand from the Vion Food Group on 25 January. According to Hill, the acquisition will see production of Hall’s products move to sites operated by Browns Food Group in Ayrshire and North Berwick.
Hill explained that Browns was now working to get things in order with regards to Hall’s, saying: “The key initially is to settle it down and make sure the product remains the same quality and value as it has been with Vion; we are looking to grow those areas and the brand within Browns Food Group.”
Browns intends to invest heavily in the Hall’s brand and Hill said he expected to see product development. “With all food products you have to do product development to see what groups are in the market and what is missing from the market. The Hall’s brand will be no different,” he said.
Through the acquisition of the Hall’s brand, Browns saved 50 jobs in the van sales sector – an important area, according to Hill. He said: “It is very closely linked to the brand and how products are distributed throughout Scotland. There are lots of Hall’s van sales customers all over Scotland and, hopefully, they will stay with us.”
He said he hoped moving the name across to Browns would be as “smooth a transition as possible” and that Hall’s current customers would stick with the company now that it was owned by Browns.
Following the announcement that Vion was to close the Hall’s of Broxburn site in October last year, some in the industry may be asking why Browns only bought the brand and not the processing facility.
The meat processing giant announced it was to close the West Lothian-based Hall’s of Broxburn site in a planned “phased closure”, which is to be completed at the end of this month, after several failed attempts to sell the site.
Asked whether or not Browns considered buying the site, Hill said: “Obviously Vion announced the Hall’s site was closing and it was up for sale, but it wasn’t a viable option for us to buy it, because we have manufacturing facilities already.”
The acquisition of the brand, which has effectively seen two of Scotland’s oldest food companies merge, was what tempted Browns, Hill said, adding: “Browns Food Group has grown through acquisitions over the last 10 years and we went in and assessed all of the opportunities from Hall’s before buying.”