Food & Drink

Our specialist Food & Drink Team consists of a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers immersed in the food and drink industry, providing practical solutions across the range of issues in the sector.  These include advice on M&A, financing, disputes, branding, logistics and supply chain arrangements, licensing, regulatory (such as health and safety and environmental), product recall, real estate and construction, tax, competition and HR issues, amongst others.

Our understanding of the challenges and pressures in the sector and the approach taken by large multiple retailers and market leading suppliers allows us to provide advice which is proactive, strategic and commercially pragmatic.

“The Team’s understanding of our business and the Food industry more generally, together with their clear focus on meeting our requirements has been a real benefit to us in the successful delivery of our growth strategy.” – Symington’s

“We chose WM as they are a partner led business, with excellent credentials in our industry. The pragmatism to protect and advise us, whilst getting the deal done, is very much aligned to our culture. The partners are very ably supported by an excellent team and we found time to have a bit of fun on the way too.” – Jonathan Bye, Seabrook Crisps

For any queries relating to the Food & Drink sector, please contact Richard Naish.

Our Specialists

Project managing complex transactions

The Food & Drink Team recently advised Starbucks UK, the UK arm of the global food and drinks retailer, in relation to its abovewing supply of products to an international airline. The project’s scope included Starbucks’ exclusive appointment in respect of the airline’s European routes and also incorporated the roll-out of a new Starbucks product range. Our extensive experience of the UK food and drink sector, both in private practice and in-house, assisted Starbucks in developing specific operational mechanisms for inclusion in the transaction documents in order to incentivise all parties involved to achieve the “Go-Live” date. At the same time we developed a brand-protection mechanism to allow Starbucks to monitor and evaluate both financial and operational performance of the relevant contracting parties

Supporting business goals

Members of the Food & Drink Team continue to support the development of fast growing food group, Symington’s. The Team has worked alongside Symington’s for a number of years and has advised on the acquisition of the Ragu and Chicken Tonight brands from Unilever plc including the associated IP/brand licensing, product manufacturing and cross-border elements as well as on the private equity partnership with Intermediate Capital Group plc which supported its management led secondary buyout.

Supporting you as a trusted adviser

We have advised Northern Foods (now 2 Sisters Food Group) on all areas of its business relationships for over 20 years. Our investment in the relationship has included the provision of multiple secondees and training sessions. We have worked closely on multi-million pound M&A programmes (including its £200+ million disposal programme), disputes and commercial arrangements (including the arrangement, together with DHL, to provide above wing in-flight catering to British Airways).

Achieving results

Achieving results is of paramount importance when business risks and disputes arise. The Food & Drink Team successfully acted in a major international dispute with a food ingredient supplier in respect of salmonella contamination of food products and the consequent product recall and claims for damages and trading losses.

Value creators

By having relevant in-house experience in the food and drink industry, we understand the commercial and business drivers facing our clients. This enables us to work efficiently and cost effectively as an extension of a client’s business. We understand that our clients are increasingly cost conscious and strive to provide innovative solutions such as “virtual secondments” where the client has a dedicated resource based at the office with the weight of support that this provides without the overhead cost.