Coles’ supply deal with Tyrrells, to revive Australian potato industry


Australia’s Coles supermarket chain has signed a multi-million exclusive supply agreement with England’s biggest maker of up-market chips, Tyrrells Crisps, which could lead to the group setting up a manufacturing base in Australia.

Image credit: flickr User: darcystarz7
Image credit: flickr User: darcystarz7

According to the article on The Australian, the Herefordshire-based crisps maker — which is backed by Dubai-based luxury brands investor Investcorp — will sell its products in 700 Coles supermarkets across the country as part of a global push to generate half of its revenues from outside Britain.

“If it goes as well as I hope, I would want to roll out nationally with all the retailers and I would make them here. The ultimate thing would be to make them in Australia. If we could get this business to £2 million ($3.6 million) annually, we could then think about manufacturing here. That would give me the confidence to do it,’’ Tyrells Chief Executive David Milner told The Australian during a visit to Sydney.

“If we did that, we could use this as a base for New Zealand and Asia. That would make it closer to the market. We could use locally sourced potatoes here. That might be an attractive thing to do. Australia is a great place to do business. It is secure, it is safe, people do what they say they will do. If it wasn’t so far away, it would be my first choice for investment.’’

According to the Telegraph, the deal will see Tyrrells sell five flavours of its crisps offerings in Australia, with the potential for expansion into further flavours or into other products such as popcorn or vegetable crisps once it comes to an end.

Tyrrells already sells its products in a range of countries in the region, including China and Japan, and the move to expand on the Australian market is expected to provide the Australian potato industry with a massive boost at a time when it is struggling with a sharp rise in imports and a dropp-off in local production.

Founded by English entrepreneur William Chase in 2002, the company has since developed in one of the most recognisable brands in the UK, with large export networks in France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Russia, India the US and China.

In 2008, UK-based private equity firm Langholm acquired Tyrrells from £30 million, only to sell it five years later, in August 2013, to Dubai-based firm Investcorp for a price reportedly more than three times its acquisition cost.