LONDON — Unilever P.L.C. has acquired Pukka Herbs Ltd., an organic herbal tea business. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2001, United Kingdom-based Pukka Herbs is the fastest growing organic tea company in the world, according to market research firm Euromonitor International, with more than £30 million ($39.3 million) in sales and growth of around 30%. The company’s teas are made with certified organic and ethically sourced ingredients from growers across Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Central America.
The acquisition is expected to strengthen Unilever’s foothold in the $2.1 billion herbal, fruit and green tea market and joins Lipton and Pure Leaf tea brands in the company’s portfolio. As a premium player in the fast-growing natural and organic segment, Pukka Herbs addresses a gap in Unilever’s tea business, said Kevin Havelock, president of Unilever’s refreshment category.
|Kevin Havelock, president of Unilever’s refreshment category|
“Pukka has strong values and a clear purpose that aligns fully with our own sustainable growth model,” Mr. Havelock. “There’s a clear strategic, philosophical and cultural fit for us.”
Pukka Herbs founders Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole said the company will remain 100% organic and a champion for fair trading, while continuing to donate 1% of sales to global environmental charities.
|Sebastian Pole, co-founder of Pukka Herbs|
“Choosing Unilever came down to two fundamentals: scale and sustainability,” Mr. Pole said. “It is a leader in social and environmental change, and it wholeheartedly embraces Pukka’s beliefs.”