Unilever acquires organic herbal tea business Pukka Herbs

18 Sep 2017

Unilever has acquired organic herbal tea business Pukka Herbs, which was founded in 2001 by Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole and has now sold 1.5 billion teas.

Unilever acquires organic herbal tea business Pukka Herbs

Unilever has acquired organic herbal tea business Pukka Herbs.

Pukka Herbs was founded in 2001 by Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole. With 100% certified, organic and ethically sourced ingredients, Pukka’s health and wellness philosophy centres around benefitting people, plants and planet. This represents a clear synergy with Unilever’s own sustainable living plan, the company says.

The British brand has a turnover of over £30m and growth of around 30%. It is also growing rapidly across Europe and the US. According to Euromonitor 2016, Pukka is the fastest growing organic tea company in the world. The herbal, fruit and green tea market is currently said to be worth €1.6bn which trends suggest will become even more prominent globally in the future.

“Pukka has strong values and a clear purpose that aligns fully with our own sustainable growth model,” said Unilever’s Refreshment Category President, Kevin Havelock. “There’s a clear strategic, philosophical and cultural fit for us. Both of us believe in business being a force for good in society. Tim and Sebastian have cultivated Pukka into a successful business without compromising their ingredients or their ideals. The acquisition strengthens our tea business, addressing a gap in our portfolio. Pukka is a premium player in the natural, organic, health and wellness segment which is fast-growing, attractive and scalable. We look forward to bringing Pukka to even more consumers.”

“From day one, our mission was to connect more people with the incredible power of plants and herbs,” said Tim Westwell, Pukka co-founder and CEO. “Sixteen years later, with 1.5 billion Pukka teas enjoyed, we’ve made huge progress – and it’s just the beginning.”

“Choosing Unilever came down to two fundamentals: scale and sustainability,” said Sebastian Pole, Pukka co-founder and Master Herbsmith. “It is a leader in social and environmental change and it wholeheartedly embraces Pukka’s beliefs. So, there’s a meeting of values. Pukka will remain 100% organic and a champion for fair trading through pioneering schemes like Fair for Life, and continue to donate 1% of its sales to global environmental charities. With Unilever, we have new levels of reach and opportunity.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.