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South Shields business The Punjab Kitchen Ltd, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of individually plated, dietary-specific and texture-modified meals, has been acquired by international foodservice distributor, Bidfood.

North East commercial law firm, Square One Law and KPMG advised the shareholders of The Punjab Kitchen Ltd on the transaction, a partnership which opens up new opportunities for both businesses, and for their customers.

Over the last 20 years both Mohammed and Yaqoob Ishaq, who created Punjab Kitchen, have developed this thriving business to become a leading manufacturer of texture-modified, plated and specialist diet meals for the healthcare, care home and home delivery sectors.

Punjab Kitchen also offers a unique home delivery service to clients and provides high quality ready to serve and finished dishes for the pub and conference sectors.

Last year, managing director and founder Mohammed Ishaq was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List for his services to innovation and the economy in Tyne and Wear.

Both Mohammed and Yaqoob will stay on and run Punjab Kitchen as an autonomous and independent business, in the same way as other successful businesses in the Bidfood family.

Bidfood’s extensive portfolio specialises in providing everything from store-cupboard ingredients to frozen and chilled foods, along with beers, wines, spirits, catering equipment and supplies to the foodservice and catering industries.

The investment that comes with the sale will support the continued growth of Punjab Kitchen, enabling its manufacturing and operations to be delivered from its headquarters in South Shields whilst giving them access to Bidfood’s international supply chain, and fantastic sales, marketing, and operational resources, which will enhance its position within the marketplace.

Mohammed Ishaq commented: “Our focus is very much about service excellence, putting the customer first and we have worked hard to offer our clients meals, which not only look good but taste good too. When looking for an investor, we were keen to choose a like-minded business who were customer, research and technology focussed as well as one which was committed to continuously developing our offerings.”

Ian Gilthorpe, senior partner at Square One Law, said “We were delighted to have advised Ishaq and the shareholders of Punjab Kitchen, alongside KPMG on this transaction. The sale demonstrates that there is significant interest from international companies in leading family-run North East food manufacturing businesses. This was a great transaction to work on, and with both the Bidfood and Punjab Kitchen teams working collaboratively, we were able to complete the deal within five weeks.”

Rod Wilkinson, head of corporate finance in the North East at KPMG, who led the transaction commented: “It has been a real pleasure to work with Ishaq and the team on this deal. The Punjab Kitchen is a very special business, which attracted strong investor interest due to its niche position as one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of frozen, texture modified and specialist dietary-specific meals for the healthcare sector.”

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