Eden Vale yogurts sale sparks chief exit fears

Eden Vale’s top marketer John Ward is likely to leave the company, following the sale of its Ski and Munch Bunch dessert brands to Nestlé.

The change in ownership is also likely to result in Eden Vale’s £2m advertising and media moving from Partners BDDH and Zenith Media to Nestlé’s roster agencies. Partners has held the business since 1999.

Earlier this year, Northern Foods, the parent company of Eden Vale, announced that it was selling the brands to Nestlé in a £145m deal. Once the deal is completed, Eden Vale will only manufacturer own-brand products and Mars confectionery desserts.

Ward says: “If the proposed transfer to Nestlé goes ahead it is likely that I shall leave Eden Vale. I’m looking at options within the Northern Foods group.” He declined to comment on the fate of Eden Vale’s agencies.

Ward, who is commercial director, has held a number of senior marketing roles at the company, including marketing director.

Nestlé is still searching for a buyer for its grocery products, which have a turnover of about £100m a year. These include brands such as Gales Honey, SunPat peanut butter and Branston.

The purchase of the yogurt brands from Eden Vale will put Nestlé in the number two position in the dairy dessert market, behind Müller.

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