Krispy Kreme owner, JAB, to acquire Pret A Manger

Personally, I find a strange irony in the recent announcement that JAB Holdings, the owner of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, is buying Pret A Manger from its private equity owners, Bridgepoint, for just under $2bn.

Bridgepoint acquired Pret for around $680m over ten years ago, back in April 2008, and during that time the sandwich chain has expanded significantly, both domestically and internationally, with stores as far afield as China and Singapore.

Pret has always marketed itself on its mission to provide “handmade food, avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives” of the like seen in other fast food offerings. Yet, however much it pushes this mission statement, there is irony everywhere you look; for example, back in 2001 McDonalds took a minority stake in the company and only sold it as part of the Bridgepoint acquisition in 2008.

Whilst I do not doubt the high-quality ingredients and the freshness of the products, the food is pretty high in terms of their calorific content when compared to the healthy calorie requirements of an adult, and now it is being acquired and will sit as part of JAB’s stable of brands that include Krispy Kreme.

When you buy a doughnut, you know that you are buying a food item that is full of sugar and will have a large number of calories, but it is a conscious decision. When I go to Pret, the challenge for me is to find something that I consider to be acceptable in terms of calorific content and inevitably I end up buying the same thing whenever I go in. Bring on the doughnut as a product line in Pret and then we all know exactly what we are getting.