Key 'steakholder'? Investment firm Inverleith buys majority share in high-end butcher brand

Edinburgh-headquartered private equity house Inverleith LLP has acquired a majority stake in a Yorkshire-based online butcher that says the deal is a “pivotal” moment in terms of catalysing not only its growth, but also that of the wider sector.

Consumer brand focused Inverleith LLP has made the investment, terms of which have not been disclosed, in Farmison & Co, hot on the heels of it also taking a majority stake in the Eden Mill St Andrews craft gin, beer and whisky company.

The investment firm says Farmison, which was established in 2011 by John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds in the North Yorkshire Dales, is the UK’s leading player in the growing online premium meat and butchery market, with an ethical, sustainable supply chain.

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'We now have the backing to take the business to the next stage,' says Farmison boss John Pallagi. Picture: contributed.

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Based in Ripon, it focuses on a diverse range of quality cuts, maturation and recipe inspiration from British heritage and rare breeds. It says its meat is always British, free-range, naturally fed and dry-aged, with the firm stating that it is leading the return of pure British rare breeds across beef (such as Gloucester, Longhorn and White Park), British free range pork (such as Berkshire and Gloucestershire Old Spot), and lamb (such as Herdwick and Ryeland) to British tables.

Following the new investment, Farmison chief executive Mr Pallagi will continue to lead the business as founder, supported by a new board of directors, and his existing management team.

He said that with Inverleith LLP on board, Farmison can look forward to a “bright” future. “We now have the backing to take the business to the next stage and for our mission to encourage more people to eat better meat.

”This is a pivotal moment not just for the future of Farmison but for the sector. We have spent time searching for the right partner to take our business forward and to realise our ambition of delivering better meat, ethically and sustainably sourced, from heritage and rare British breeds, to consumers up and down the country.

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“This investment will help drive production standards across the wider sector, help educate consumers, and help us explain more powerfully why better meat is better for customers, the planet and the long-term success of the farming sector in the UK.”

Vision

Inverleith LLP chair and partner Ben Thomson – the former chairman and chief executive of investment bank Noble Group – cheered Farmison as a “great addition” to the investment vehicle’s portfolio. “We have admired Farmison & Co for some time, supporting its vision for the future of the premium consumer meat industry,” he added.

"As consumers adopt increasingly flexitarian diets, they are increasingly choosing high-quality, great tasting meat which has a traceable, local supply chain, delivered ethically and supporting a sustainability agenda. All these elements have been set at the heart of Farmison & Co.

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“The value and principles of Farmison strike a chord with modern-day consumers and in Inverleith’s care, we will strengthen these product qualities and company values.”

Other names on Inverleith LLP’s books include chocolate firm Montezuma’s, health food chain Planet Organic, and outdoor clothing and accessories brand Montane, which it acquired in 2020. The investment firm’s managing partner Paul Skipworth was previously chief executive and chief operating officer of Glenmorangie and partner in L Capital, LVMH’s consumer-focused private equity fund.

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