Ankerkraut: Nestlé buys Hamburg spice makers – fans are appalled

People’s Food Company
Nestlé buys spice maker Ankerkraut – fans are appalled

The Ankerkraut lion's den

Stefan Lemcke (left) and his wife Anne founded the brand “Ankerkraut”

© Ankerkraut

Hamburg-based spice maker Ankerkraut was once known for “The Lion’s Den” and has grown into a multi-million dollar business. Nestlé now takes the majority – which many fans don’t like at all.

The food group Nestlé acquires the Hamburg spice manufacturer Ankerkraut. As the two companies announced on Wednesday, Nestlé is acquiring a majority stake in Ankerkraut, making it the new primary owner.

However, the founding couple Anne and Stefan Lemcke and the current management will remain shareholders and continue to run the company. “Ankerkraut’s current management team will continue to run the business independently,” Nestlé said. And Ankerkraut also stressed via Twitter that nothing will change in operational activity.

One is convinced that “we can learn a lot from each other and bring together the best of both worlds”, says Marc Boersch, boss of Nestlé Germany. “For example, how brands are built, trends are picked up and innovations are created, or how a portfolio can grow successfully.” Anne and Stefan Lemcke explain in the press release: “This step is a great opportunity for us, because we want to continue to drive our growth and our professionalization.”

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Ankerkraut is now a million dollar company

The Lemcke couple founded Ankerkraut ten years ago and became known to a wide audience in 2016 thanks to an appearance on the start-up show “Die Höhle der Löwen”. At the time, investor Frank Thelen invested in the start-up, which grew rapidly in the years that followed.

Spice blends are sold online and in supermarkets. According to the company, the annual turnover was 40 million euros, and the trend is still rising. The founding couple not only developed the company operationally, but also ensured the trendy image in the otherwise rather sleepy spice sector. Part of the brand’s success is based on very successful social media and influencer marketing.

Fans slam Nestlé takeover

This image risks being subjected to a severe stress test with the sale to Nestlé. Below Ankerkraut’s tweet announcing the takeover, negative comments from disappointed fans, customers and influencers are piling up. In Ankerkraut’s core customer base, many do not seem to befriend the Nestlé group at all. Comments range from “disappointing” and “very sad” to “You’re done with me down there. The main thing is to make money”. In the past, the Swiss group Nestlé has repeatedly been criticized for its environmental destruction and abusive business practices.

The founders had already sold part of Ankerkraut in 2020. At that time, investor EMZ took over 30% of the company, but the Lemckes remained on board as managers. It’s unclear how much Nestlé is now paying for the majority of Ankerkraut.

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