Unilever Buys Pukka

Photo credit: Unilever.com

Unilever announced on Sept. 7 it acquired Pukka Herbs, a company specializing in ethically sourced organic teas and herbal tisanes. Pukka joins more than one dozen other Unilever brands dedicated to making a positive social impact, reports the Independent.

“Pukka has strong values and a clear purpose that aligns fully with our own sustainable growth model,” said Kevin Havelock, Unilever’s president for its refreshment category, in a company press release.  “There’s a clear strategic, philosophical and cultural fit for us.”

Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch corporation; Pukka is headquartered in Bristol, England.

Pukka’s founders Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole initially met through an ad in a Bristol magazine and formed the company in 2001. Westwell was formerly a business consultant who specialized in marketing computer systems, and Pole was an herbalist, reports the Guardian.

Tim Westwell and Sebastian Pole, photo credit: Unilever.com

Pukka already had a strong foothold in the United Kingdom’s herbal tea market, representing just over 20 percent of sales, with the U.S. and Germany as the company’s major export markets.  Pole believes the acquisition will allow for broader reach and new opportunities for Pukka, which currently has sales of more than $39 million.

The herbal and green tea market, which is presently valued at nearly $2 billion globally, is expected to grow rapidly along with the healthy living trend.

Other tea brands under Unilever’s corporate canopy are: PG Tips, Pure Leaf and Australian tea purveyor T2, which has doubled in size since Unilever acquired it in 2013, according to the Independent.