Mayfair looks to take a slice of gluten-free market

The trend for health conscious customers to discard gluten from their weight control plans has driven Britain’s newest private equity firm, Mayfair, to gobble up Promise Gluten Free in an arrangement valuing the pastry shop at around €100m (£89m).

The bread firm, situated in Donegal, was founded by Declan Gallagher in 2011 after just about four decades of maintaining his family’s pastry shop business.

After working on a range of bread appropriate for celiacs, Promise now transports bread to more than 1,000 outlets in Australia and 10,000 stores in the US and Canada and is supplied in the UK after being granted contracts with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer.

Promise is said to have sold a majority stake in the business to Mayfair Equity Partners, which was launched two years back by three accomplices who quit Lloyds’ private equity arm, LDC.

“Mayfair’s backing will provide us with the ability to increase capacity in new and existing markets, including supporting the growth of our facility,” said Mr Gallagher.

The UK “free from” market is developing quickly and is seen to be worth £550 million by 2019.

Around 1% of Britons are gluten-intolerant, and celiacs confront a string of debilitating side effects including vomiting, nerve problems, deficiency in red blood cells/haemoglobin (anaemia), inflammation and an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Some estimates, however, put the proportion of adults adhering to gluten-free diets in the UK at more than 12 percent, many thinking that it is better for the heart.

Prior this year, figures from Kantar Worldpanel uncovered that the greater part of Britons purchased a “free from” product during the last quarter.