Fitness Outcomes acquired by Patties Foods

Patties Foods, the owner of Four’N’Twenty Pies and Herbert Adams and Nannas baked goods, has scooped up a ready-to-eat meals business called Fitness Outcomes to add to a stable of businesses now generating annual sales of almost $500 million.

Patties Foods chief executive Paul Hitchcock said despite the disruption to sales last year of Four’N’Twenty Pies to sports stadiums such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground because of COVID-19 crowd restrictions, the overall business was generating sales growth of more than 10 per cent for 2020-21, largely because of strength in the grocery channel.

“We’re doing double digit growth. We’ve been fairly consistent,” Mr Hitchcock said.

He said he was concentrating on running the business and it was up to PEP to make any decisions about a potential exit. “There are no firm plans,” he said.

But at some point there would likely be a new set of shareholders, he said.

The Fitness Outcomes brand is stocked at supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths, along with fitness gyms and independent stores, and was growing faster than the overall ready-to-eat meals category.

“It was a logical bolt-on acquisition to our business,” Mr Hitchcock said. Fitness Outcomes started up three years ago and needed extra production capacity after experiencing strong demand from people looking for healthy pre-made meal options.

“They were experiencing growth pains,” he said.

Fitness Outcomes makes a range of about 20 different ready-to-eat meals sold in the chilled or frozen food sections, including Portuguese chicken, cashew chicken and vegetable stir-fry, and beef bolognese.

“It’s all about convenience,” Mr Hitchcock said.

Four’N’Twenty Pies is the largest pie brand in the southern hemisphere and has also expanded offshore, with the brand making a concerted push into the United States using a multi-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team signed in November 2017, as a springboard.

Ben Simmons, who grew up in Melbourne and has been lauded as one of the best Australian players to have played in the NBA, is an important part of the Philadelphia 76ers team.

“He has a fridge full of Four’N’Twenty pies,” Mr Hitchcock said.

Abridged from the AFR.