Ann Forshaw’s Alston Dairy acquired by SPAR wholesaler James Hall

Ann Forshaw’s and its associated Alston Dairy has been acquired by the James Hall Group of Companies, which acts as the primary wholesaler to SPAR retailers across the UK.

The acquisition will see the Group expand its portfolio of food manufacturing businesses in the North of England with the iconic Lancashire-based brand now joining Clayton Park Bakery, Fazila Foods, Graham Eyes Butchers, and the Great Northern Sandwich Company.

Operating within the James Hall Group of Companies will mean business as usual for Alston Dairy, as Ann Forshaw and Emma Coupe will remain directors and will run the company on a day-to-day basis, and all the same staff will continue in employment.


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With a mission of producing high quality yoghurt from farm to pot within 24 hours, Alston Dairy will also continue to purchase the milk from the family farm and using the freshest milk possible.

James Hall & Co. Ltd serves a network of independent SPAR retailers and company-owned SPAR stores across Northern England six days a week from its base at Bowland View in Preston.

“We are delighted to complete the acquisition of Alston Dairy and the Ann Forshaw’s brand which has an outstanding reputation for producing premium yoghurt products,” joint managing director of James Hall & Co. Ltd, Dominic Hall said.

“We have sold Ann Forshaw’s products in our Spar stores for many years, and they have played an important role in our dairy categories, becoming firm customer favourites.”

He added: “We continue to strive to source locally as much as we can and acquiring Alston Dairy will allow us to protect that ambition and keep the brand local.

“We are keen to grow the business further and see a huge amount of potential in the Ann Forshaw’s brand. We will grow the presence in more SPAR stores and continue to develop products in new categories, ensuring that greater numbers of customers can enjoy Ann Forshaw’s products,” Hall said.

Ann Forshaw also commented, saying: “Across several decades I have poured all of my energy and passion into growing the business, and with the support of a wonderful team, we have developed the brand and product range in to what it is today.

“However, I felt that the time was right for me to sell the business and I was keen to ensure that Alston Dairy and the Ann Forshaw’s brand was sold on to a company that has shared values and is similarly family-owned, so I am very pleased to complete the deal with James Hall.

“I am also very excited to remain as a Director of the business, together with Emma, to bring to life the new ideas that we have for Ann Forshaw’s products, and I am very much looking forward to a future where even more SPAR customers can access our fantastic yoghurt range.”

The news comes as cows were found in a state of neglect and struggling to walk on a farm that supplies dairy giant Freshways last month, according to footage found in an undercover video.

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