Polish group Colian targets expansion with UK division for Lily O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Shaw brands

The Polish-headquartered Colian food group is launching a dedicated UK division, targeting a doubling of its business to £50 million over five years in combining sales and distribution of its confectionery brands including Lily O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Shaw, writes Neill Barston.

As the globally-focused business noted, its targeted investment in the region will be supported by advanced manufacturing facilities that it anticipates will deliver increased market presence for its portfolio of luxury chocolates.

Significantly, the newly created division has appointed Andrew Marjoram as Colian’s UK managing director, having  previously occupied the post of commercial director for Lily O’Brien’s.

He said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of Colian UK. Since the acquisitions of Elizabeth Shaw and Lily O’Brien’s by Colian in 2016/18, both brands have experienced strong growth and it is now time to bring this talented team more closely together to spearhead growth across the group.

“As we begin the journey into a post-Covid world, there are clear opportunities to drive sales. Families, friends and loved ones will be able to reunite at last, and confectionery gifting has an important role to play in making these moments extra special. With 170 years of combined expertise, Lily O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Shaw are perfectly placed to capitalise on these trends. Harnessing Colian’s first-class resources, we will accelerate our growth and establish our brands as household names across the UK market.”

The announcement comes as the total inlaid box chocolates category is valued at £445 million within the grocery market. Colian estimates the total premium inlaid market at £269 million which is driving overall category growth at +9.7%.

Marjoram continues: “Colian UK is ahead of the category growth, driven by the stellar performance of Lily O’Brien’s. The brand’s Desserts Collection is the driving force behind recent growth and has added the most value to the inlaid box category in the last year. Alongside this success, Elizabeth Shaw continues to innovate and the brand’s iconic Mint Crisp has strengthened its CSR credentials – being Gluten Free, Palm Oil Free and vegan friendly.

“Our brands are delivering strong growth and Colian’s ambition hasn’t changed. We will continue to invest in marketing and product innovation, putting us in a strong position for the future in one of the UK’s biggest FMCG categories.”

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