Costa Coffee owner Whitbread orders a salad to go after buying a £6.8m stake in Pure

Kasmira Jefford
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It's not all about salads. Pure also sells pastries and other snacks. (Source: Whitbread )

Whitbread, the hospitality company behind Costa Coffee and restaurants including Beefeater Grill, is balancing out its diet after buying a 49 per cent stake in a healthy food-to-go chain for £6.8m.

Pure, which was founded by entrepreneur Spencer Craig in 2009, has eight outlets serving up salads and wraps to health-conscious commuters in locations including Moorgate and Soho.

Craig said Whitbread's backing would help inject further pace into its expansion, with more store openings planned for the next three years.

The company did not disclose Pure's financial performance, although according to The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, it recorded sales of around £7.8m last year.

Read More: Whitbread shares froth up as Costa Coffee sales jump.

Whitbread's chief executive, Alison Brittain, said: "I am very impressed by Pure, which appeals to health conscious busy people, offering a choice of natural fresh food.

"As the UK's largest hospitality company, it's vital that Whitbread has its finger on the pulse of consumer trends and that we innovate with new formats and concepts. I see considerable opportunities to grow the brand and by taking a stake in Pure we fast become part of a business that specialises in the exciting growth market for natural, healthy takeaway food and drink."

The health food sector has been abuzz with activity of late after rival food-to-go chain Vital Ingredient received £8m of investment from private equity firm LDC.

Other health-focused food-to-go chains including Chop'd, Pod and Tossed have also received financial backing over the last five years to fund their expansion, attracting investment from private equity firm Calculus Capital, JGR Capital and Santander respectively.

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