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Devon-based artisan crisp company Burts Chips has acquired popcorn maker Savoury & Sweet for an undisclosed sum, in its first acquisition since the business was founded 20 years ago.

As part of the deal, Burts has gained Savoury & Sweet’s 71,000 square-foot production facility in Leicester, while retaining all of the 99 employees located there. The business will be rebranded under the Burts Snacks name.

The move will help Burts to diversify its portfolio of products to include a wider range of healthy snacks and popcorn, as well as creating up to 60 new jobs in Leicester.

Read more: The world is going nutty for healthy snacks

The firm hopes the new buy will help sales pop and make the future sweeter than ever, as highlighted by Burts' MD David Nairn who said: “Our ambition is to drive the business to over £100m in the next five years to become the UK’s biggest player within premium snacking.”

Nairn added: “Organic growth of our existing operation in Plymouth is a big part of this, but acquisitions of like-minded and complementary businesses will hep us accelerate our expansion.”

The potato chip maker has been on a roll in recent years, reporting robust growth of 180 per cent since 2014, despite a trend towards Brits shunning crisps in favour of more nutritious lower calorie alternatives. In contrast, popcorn has grown in popularity in the UK, with sales up more than 10 per cent in 2017 to over £152m, making it the fastest-growing grocery product on the market, according to research firm Euromonitor.

Read more: Salty not sweet: Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn faces bitter legal challenge

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