Ex-Phileas Fogg trio set up rival snack business

Three senior executives from Derwent Valley Foods, the Phileas Fogg snacks company acquired by United Biscuits, are launching the UK’s first pretzel-making operation.

John Pike, one of the Derwent Valley founders, is leading the management at the new firm, Union Snack. He will be assisted by former Derwent senior managers George Wilkie and Calum Ryder.

The company – which like Derwent is based in County Durham – is launching a range of pretzels

under the brand Pfeiffer’s Pretzels.

The range will go on sale in independent retailers, off-licences and delicatessens. Union Snack will also make pretzels for own-label supply to the multiples.

Pike and his team believe they have found a gap in the UK’s 1.7bn snack market, and aim to give pretzels some of the status and popularity they have in the US and on the Continent.

Pike says: “From our discussions with retailers, we are convinced that pretzels will become the fashionable snack food of the next decade.”

v Big D, the former Walkers Snackfoods peanut brand bought by Ray McGhee, another ex-founder of Derwent Valley Foods, is sponsoring a Darts Championships with the News of the World. Associate sponsor is Japan Tobacco, with the Kings cigarettes brand.

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