China’s growing interest in non-traditional snacks

China’s increasingly large middle class is driving Chinese buyers’ interest in non-traditional Asian food products. The latest company being linked to a possible Chinese buyer is Griffin’s Foods, the New Zealand-based, private-equity backed producer of biscuits and savory snacks.

Griffin’s was a family-owned business established back in 1864 and was sold to Pacific Equity Partners for an estimated $240m in 2006 by the global food company Danone SA. China’s Bright Foods is rumoured to be looking at Griffin’s with a view to adding the company to its growing stable of subsidiaries that range from dairy, to wine and to nutritional and dietary products.

As China’s middle class becomes wealthier, demand for non-traditional foods has increased, and it’s becoming more obvious that Chinese food manufacturers are interested in satisfying that demand themselves rather than letting non-Chinese food companies challenge the market space. 

In the last 18 months Chinese buyers have acquired companies across the world in food sectors as specific as wine production, milk production and confectionary.

Whilst no one from Pacific Equity, Griffin’s or Bright Foods will apparently provide any comment to the media on the potential deal, I can see Chinese supermarkets stocked with “New Zealand’s favorite biscuits” before long.