Newly launched Openway Food Co aims to grow the Australian health food sector after acquiring three leading health food companies and their brands, creating a portfolio with over $100 million in annual turnover.
Annex Foods (owners of the Red Tractor, Raise the Bar and Hammer & Tuffy’s brands) and Table of Plenty joined Openway in April 2021. Metro Foods (owners of the Keep it Cleaner food brand) joined the group in June 2021.
Openway has over 150 SKUs in its stable and also has extensive sourcing and contract manufacturing capabilities under its Annex Foods arm in Melbourne. The company partners with a variety of brand owners, including Nestle, Kellogg’s and retail private label.
Streamlining healthy product sourcing
The company was born from a passion to “make it easier to source, eat and trust healthier, great tasting foods”.
As Openway co-founder Andrew Loader explains: “Retailers are managing a fragmented supplier base, looking for trusted partners to drive category growth and deliver more options to Australian families.”
“We could see that many entrepreneurs hit a ceiling without an ability to continue to invest in operations, distribution and innovation.”
With the health food sector growing at about 10 per cent per annum, the sector has plenty of head room for growth compared to more mature markets in the UK, Europe and US.
Openway aims to drive its domestic market performance and build on the entry of its brands into China and the West Coast of the US.
“We have big ambitions for our future, led by a strong sense of purpose,” Mr Loader says.
Leadership and growth
Mr Loader, who leads the group, brings an extensive background in the FMCG industry, including over 20 years in local and global roles with Mars Incorporated.
All founders of the acquired companies will stay on as shareholders and many will form part of Openway’s leadership team.
“From the outset, we wanted to do things differently and create a safe space for like-minded founders to grow their brands with access to a range of skills and experience,” Mr Loader says.
“We will keep on looking for the right brands to join the group, ones which fit with our vision and values.”