Developing Genius from a UK pioneer into Europe’s leading gluten free lifestyle brand

The journey

Verlinvest first invested in Genius in March 2014, attracted by the Company’s disruptive impact on the UK Gluten-Free bakery, offering fresh bread and bakery products in a category traditionally dominated by long-life and pharmacy products. Genius had established a No. 1 position in UK Gluten-Free bakery and was entering other European markets, after recently taking control of its manufacturing through the acquisition of Finsbury Food Group’s gluten-free operations.

Today, Genius is the leading European gluten free lifestyle bakery brand, with No. 1 positions in the UK, France and Netherlands, expanding rapidly in Germany, Sweden, Australia, and the US. It has since continued to expand its offer, acquiring a gluten-free frozen food and pie-manufacturer.

Verlinvest’s “hands with” partnership with Genius

Verlinvest has supported Genius with both a financial and operational mindset, focusing on enabling the management team, and bringing a roster of industry veterans and advisors to facilitate the group’s acceleration in key growth areas, including:

  • International expansion – in Europe (France, Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia), developing a direct-to-market model or identifying distributors, recruiting local teams, and understanding local channel and consumer dynamics utilising Verlinvest’s market research capabilities and local contacts
  • Branding and product development – providing mentoring and coaching sessions for the CMO by the ex-Head of Innovation of AB-Inbev
  • Operations and Marketing – appointing the former COO of Danone, Bernard Hours, to the Board, bringing a wealth of experience of manufacturing and operations best-practice
  • M&A – sourcing, evaluating and executing acquisition opportunities