Ankerkraut: After the sale to Nestlé, the founders are in deep shit

The majority takeover of Hamburg spice trader Ankerkraut by the world’s largest food company, Nestlé, has caused a real shit storm on social media. Whether Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – a large majority of users across all channels reject the deal.

Many accuse founders Anne and Stefan Lemcke of betraying their values ​​and announce a boycott of Ankerkraut products. A number of influencers, including LeFloid, are also turning away from the company, which rose to prominence primarily through its appearance on the TV show 2Die Höhle der Löwen2 (DHDL) in 2016.

Nestlé has been criticized for many reasons

The resentment is directed against the choice of the new partner. The Nestlé group has been criticized for years. Many accuse him of making profit with his products to the detriment of the poorest. But it is also on fire from the clearing of rainforest, the exploitation of water resources and, more recently, from agreements with Russia during the Ukrainian war.

LeFloid – known for his interview with then-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in July 2015 – wrote to his approximately 685,000 Instagram followers: “Since a cooperation with Nestlé is out of the question for us, we don’t see no other option but to work with them Terminate Ankerkraut as soon as possible.

Founder of Ankerkraut: critics do not leave us indifferent

Meanwhile, founders Anne and Stefan Lemcke called on critics to exercise restraint. “As a brand, we stand for very special customer proximity and a close exchange with our fans from the start,” the founding couple of the German press agency said on Thursday. This is why Ankerkraut does not close itself to the debate. “What we don’t accept is hate on the internet and insults against people who work at Ankerkraut,” they stressed. They conceded that the criticism, which spread mainly through social networks, did not leave them and the employees indifferent.

However, they are determined to prove “that we are serious when we say: Ankerkraut remains Ankerkraut, we will continue to operate as an independent company”. The founding couple expressly apologized to the angry cooperation partners. “We are sincerely sorry that we were unable to inform you in advance and that you were surprised by the news.”

‘Lion’s Den’ juror congratulates Ankerkraut founders

Support came from ‘Lion’s Den’ juror and investor Frank Thelen, who had taken Ankerkraut under his wing at the time. “Wow, who would have thought that during your DHLL performance?!? Now you are a lion yourself and you will win Nestlé as an Ankerkraut partner,” he congratulated on Facebook. The love of the product, the passion of the team and strong communication would have made Ankerkraut one of the most successful food start-ups. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, respect you and wish you continued success.”

Ankerkraut announced on Wednesday that Nestlé would take over a majority stake in the Hamburg spice trader. The group has taken over the shares of the previous investors – EMZ Partners, Thelens Freigeist Capital and Knälmann Ventures – as well as part of the management shares and will thus become the majority shareholder of Ankerkraut GmbH.

According to the information, Ankerkraut will remain an independent company with an independent brand, and Anne and Stefan Lemcke will remain on board as shareholders and brand ambassadors. Ankerkraut GmbH from southern Hamburg was founded in 2013 as a start-up. The company now has more than 230 employees and, with the sale of more than 500 spices and spice blends, sauces, teas and accessories, achieves sales in the double-digit million range.

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