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L-R: Ian Gilthorpe, Square One Law; Rod Wilkinson, KPMG; Mohammed Ishaq, The Punjab Kitchen Ltd; Michael Downes, KPMG; Ashraf Ali, Square One Law
Jane Imrie

Family-run food firm acquired by international distributor

A South Shields-based meal supplier has been acquired by an international foodservice firm.

The deal sees local family-run firm Punjab Kitchen Ltd, which specialises in the supply of individually-plated dietary-specific meals, become the latest portfolio addition for wholefood distributor Bidfood.

Founded over 20 years ago by Mohammed and Yaqoob Ishaq, Punjab Kitchen offers texture-modified, plated and specialist diet meals for the healthcare, care home, home delivery, pub and conference sectors.

Punjab Kitchen co-founder Mohammed Ishaq commented: “Our focus is very much about service excellence, putting the customer first and we have worked hard to offer our clients meals, which not only look good but taste good too.

“When looking for an investor, we were keen to choose a like-minded business who were customer, research and technology focussed as well as one which was committed to continuously developing our offerings.”

The acquisition, which was advised by commercial law firm Square One Law and professional services provider KPMG, will give the North East company access to Bidfood’s international food supply chain.

In partnering with the food giant, the firm will also receive investment into its South Shields headquarters, allowing it to improve operations and enhance its marketplace position.

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said: “We were delighted to have advised Ishaq and the shareholders of Punjab Kitchen, alongside KPMG on this transaction.

“The sale demonstrates that there is significant interest from international companies in leading family-run North East food manufacturing businesses.”

Rod Wilkinson, head of corporate finance in the North East at KPMG, added: “It has been a real pleasure to work with Ishaq and the team on this deal.

“The Punjab Kitchen is a very special business, which attracted strong investor interest due to its niche position as one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of frozen, texture modified and specialist dietary-specific meals for the healthcare sector.”

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