Ark Consultants, the British outdoor distribution company, has launched its own brand of dried trekking food, Extreme Food. Ark Consultants is the British distributor of the Nordisk and Yeti brands as well as the owner of the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) brand.
Ark Consultants is familiar with the market of dried food since it was previously the UK distributor of Trek'n Eat, the brand owned by the Katadyn Goup. The Extreme Food range consists of two series of hot and cold snacks, which have a high calorific value and are very light as well as packable and tasty.
The launch comes ahead of legislative changes imposed by the European Union that will apply mostly from December and should force significant changes in dried foods for outdoor activities – particularly regulations on labeling and on accepted levels of gluten contents. They have been taken into account in the production of Extreme Food, which takes place in the UK.
Earlier this month Ark Consultants also acquired Bushbaby, a small British brand of baby carriers. Andy Williams, the outdoor specialist behind Ark Consultants, intends to rebuild the brand, inject new design into the product and sell it in a mixture of outdoor and childcare stores, as well as online retailers. It was previously owned by its founder, Caroline Croft. The infrastructure for the brand will be built around Ark Consultants' facilities in Lancashire.
Meanwhile, OMM is continuing to expand rapidly – and this applies to the orienteering event as well as the products accompanying them. Since Ark Consultants acquired the brand five years ago, sales have been growing at a double-digit rate every year. They soared by 36 percent in the UK last year and Ark Consultants added a foreign market by sealing a distribution deal with Nomadic in Japan last November. The country's inaugural OMM, to take place at the end of November, has drawn strong interest: the 850 spots for the race were taken up within minutes.
The UK company's plans call for OMM events to be started in Denmark and South Africa in 2016. They have already been introduced in Iceland and in France. The flagship OMM race in the UK will take place in October in the Cheviot Hills, Northumbria.
Separately, Matt Williams, one of Andy's sons, who has served as a reserve marine in Afghanistan, has started operating as a sales agent targeting armed forces. Named after a Celtic tribe, Brigantes, the company set up for this purpose earlier this year sells international brands to Army sourcing units. Matt Williams is also dealing with the international distribution of OMM products.
Ark Consultants still intends to repatriate at least some of the brand's production to the UK. It planned to do so in the spring but the move has been somewhat delayed because it proved harder than expected to bring back skills and adequate machinery to the country.