Spar distributor, retailer and forecourt operator AF Blakemore has announced the purchase of the online wholesaler and retailer Vegan Store.

The acquisition represents a move that will diversify the Blakemore group’s portfolio of brands and add a purely online division to the business structure.

Jet Blakemore Newark by night

Blakemore owns 17 forecourts supplied by BP, Texaco, Jet and Shell

Announcing the purchase, group commercial managing director Jerry Marwood commented: “The vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is predicted to be the choice of up to 25% of the British population by 2025. By acquiring Vegan Store we are adding a niche brand to our portfolio that we will be able to develop and grow in line with forecasted market growth.

“We now have access to some of the best vegan products in the world, such as Go Max Go candy bars and Vegg, but in addition we can continue to create innovative new product development through Vegan Store’s Golden Crunch brand.

“AF Blakemore has innovation at its heart, and throughout the company’s 100-year history, keeping ahead of customer trends and changing consumer behaviour have been central to our success.”

Marwood added: “The Blakemore group operates across multiple channels, and we are excited to see the benefits that new vegan food and drink will bring to our diverse set of menus and ranges.

“New vegan products will present our Spar stores, Philpotts stores and partners in retail, wholesale and foodservice with a fantastic opportunity to attract new customers, as well as to provide innovative alternatives for existing ones.”

AF Blakemore’s retail division includes 17 forecourts supplied by BP, Texaco, Jet and Shell.