An enterprising young Italian, Regina Roncadin, opened her first ice cream parlour in Osnabrϋck, Germany.
Her nephew, Eduardo, established Roncadin’s first chain of ice cream parlours across Germany.
Roncadin’s move into the mass production of ice cream marked a step change in the company’s expansion.
Farmer Jonathan Ropner and businessman James Lambert co-acquired Cardosi, a local ice cream manufacturer and Richmond Ice Cream was born.
James Lambert appointed to lead the business.
Windsor Creameries became the first of Richmond’s many strategic acquisitions aimed at consolidating the UK ice cream supplier base and firmly positioned the company as the UK’s leading investor in the UK ice cream manufacturing sector.
Roncadin was also going from strength to strength and transferred its Italian ice cream and cake-making business for the catering sector to its subsidiary L’Italiano Ice Cream GmbH.
Treats Group plc floated on the London Stock Exchange.
Roncadin’s growth continued with the takeover of Girki and the subsequent formation of Roncadin SA in Vayres, France.
In the UK, Richmond’s merger with leading lolly manufacturer Treats plc gave the firm access to a new product sector. The business retained Treats listing on the London Stock Exchange and became Richmond Foods plc.
Richmond acquired the ice cream division of Allied Frozen Foods, their major competitor in the UK cream sector. With four sites across the UK, Richmond became the UK’s largest ice cream producer with regards to both volume and range of products.
Richmond’s acquisition of the Nestlé Ice Cream business in the UK added instantly recognisable brands such as Fab, Smarties and Rowntrees Fruit-Pastil lolly to its product portfolio.
Sheffield-based ice cream business Oldfield’s became Richmond’s latest acquisition.
This was a particularly busy year for Roncadin with the acquisition of Zielona Budka in Poland, and the purchase of production and licensing rights for the Valensina fruit ice and healthy Fit For Fun ice cream brands.
Richmond acquired De Roma Ice Cream which increased the group’s ability to produce lollies, hand held ice creams and Arctic rolls.
Roncadin was acquired by US-based investment fund Oaktree Capital Management.
In the UK, Skinny Cow, the UK’s first indulgent tasting yet low fat ice cream brand became part of the Richmond family and soon delivered significant incremental retail sales.
Another year of success for Roncadin as the German Agricultural Society awarded its branded products 19 gold medals, 26 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
Roncadin took over the ice cream division of Nordmilch eG and acquired the Botterbloom brand and licenses for Masterfoods and Ahoj-Brause. In addition, the business acquired Schröer Eis GmbH whose North Rhine production plant enabled Roncadin to produce a wider range of products.
Oaktree Capital Management purchased Richmond Foods to merge with Roncadin. The result was R&R Ice Cream - a business with the potential to be not only the largest private label ice cream group in Europe but also the most profitable.
R&R acquired Kelly’s of Cornwall - the UK’s leading producer of premium Cornish ice cream.
R&R strengthened its presence in the European ice cream sector with the acquisition of Rolland, France’s third largest ice cream manufacturer. The acquisition meant R&R became Europe’s second largest ice cream group in terms of supermarket sales in the UK, Germany and France, selling more than 500 million litres of ice cream a year.
In the UK, R&R celebrated its 25th anniversary and the Leeming Bar factory was visited by HRH The Duke of Kent. The business also collected its 37th award at the annual British Frozen Food Federation Awards.
Finally, its finance-raising Euro bond proved to be one of the most successful newcomer bonds into the London market that year.
R&R acquired French ice cream business Pilpa and leading German own label ice cream manufacturer Durigon. It also entered into a licensing agreement with Mondelēz International to launch a range of products under the Milka, Toblerone, Daim, Oreo and Philadelphia brands.
R&R bought Eskigel, Italy’s largest own label ice cream manufacturer, and also yoo moo, now the UK’s largest frozen yoghurt brand.
R&R acquired Lancashire-based Fredericks Dairies which added the Mondelēz brand Cadbury to its portfolio along with Del Monte, Vimto and Britvic.
At about the same time, leading European private equity group PAI Partners bought R&R from Oaktree Capital Management.
Ibrahim Najafi, previously CEO Europe and Chief Operating Officer, appointed Group CEO with James Lambert becoming Chairman.
R&R currently has some 3,500 employees and 9 production sites across the UK and mainland Europe. Overall, its production sites can produce more than 800 million litres of product annually on more than 100 production lines.
The company continues to perform strongly financially – turnover for the year ending December 31 2013 was €681 million.
Product innovation, a sustained focus on operational efficiency and a desire to maintain corporate growth remain the key platforms on which R&R is building for the future.