R&R Ice Cream

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R&R Ice Cream is an ice cream manufacturer with its headquarters in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, England.[1] It is the largest producer of ice cream in Europe by volume, and the second-largest in the world, after Unilever.[2] It expanded by initiating consolidation in the fragmented European ice cream market.

The company has a turnover of £750 million, and employs 3,000 people.[2] The main production site is located at Leeming Bar, and employs 665 people in the largest ice cream factory in Europe.[3][4] Smaller production sites are located in Leeds and Bodmin, Cornwall.[3]


The company was founded as Richmond Ice Cream in 1985, when Bedale farmer Jonathan Ropner acquired Cardosi, a Thornaby ice cream manufacturer.[3] Cardosi had £40,000 of ice cream manufacturing equipment, and had offered itself up for sale.[5] Ropner asked his friend, bull semen salesman James Lambert, to run the company.[4] Lambert claimed that the pair knew "nothing" about ice cream manufacturing.[5] The company initially had just five employees.[1] In 1987, the company's first major success occurred when it won a contract to manufacture own-label ice cream for supermarket chain Morrisons, which had 44 stores at the time.[4][5] The company acquired Windsor Creameries from Trevor Hemmings in 1994.[4] In return, Hemmings gained a 40% stake in Richmond.[4]

In 1997, Richmond completed a reverse takeover of the publicly listed ice lolly manufacturer Treats Group, based in Leeds, which gave them the Crossgates site and far greater leverage in negotiations with supermarkets.[5][3] The deal meant that the newly formed entity was publicly listed.[5] Allied Frozen Foods was acquired from Associated British Foods in 2000.[6] It acquired Nestle's loss-making UK ice cream business, Lyons Maid, including FAB, in 2001.[4]

On 5 May 2006, Richmond Foods announced that it was to be taken over by Oaktree Capital Management, which merged the company with Roncadin, the largest German own-brand label ice cream manufacturer, to make the largest ice cream manufacturer in Europe. The company is now known as R&R Ice Cream. In 2008, it acquired Cornish ice cream producer Kelly's, followed by French business Rolland in 2010.[7]

In December 2011, the company announced a deal to produce Kraft Foods brand ice creams, such as Oreo and Toblerone.[8] R&R acquired Frederick's Dairies for £49 million in April 2013.[9] It thus acquired control of Cadbury, Del Monte and Britvic ice cream brands.[9]

In April 2013, R&R was acquired by the French private equity firm PAI Partners for £715 million.[3] As a result, James Lambert moved from the chief executive role to chairman.[2]

In October 2013, R&R's founder was named entrepreneur of the year at EY’s annual awards hosted by Jeremy Vine. Lambert will now go on to compete globally with more than 60 other country winners at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo next year.[2]


The company manufactures over 600 million ice lollies every year, produces and packages over 70% of 2-litre supermarket own-brand ice cream, including for major UK supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda, and employs around 665 people at its Leeming Bar plant.[10]

The Leeds Crossgates manufacturing site, which employs 135 people, is scheduled to close at the end of 2013.[1] The company stated that the site would have needed considerable investment to remain viable.[3] All existing staff were offered positions at Leeming Bar.[11]

The Bodmin site employs 30 people.[1]


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