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Peperami sold

Peperami has been gobbled up by US firm Jack Link's Beef Jerky after being sold by consumer goods giant Unilever.

The German-made sausage snack, marketed with the slogan "a bit of an animal" and "too spicy for ya", has become a lunchbox staple since launching in 1982.

But Unilever is disposing of its meat snacks business, which also includes the Bifi brand sold on the continent, as it seeks to simplify the group - whose vast product range includes household names from Bovril to Ben & Jerry's.

The division, with annual turnover of around 80 million euro (£66 million), sells Peperami in the UK and Ireland and Bifi in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Peperami's sales rose 2.9% in 2013.

The price of the sale to Jack Link's was not disclosed. It includes a manufacturing unit in Ansbach, Germany.

Jan Zijderveld, Unilever's Europe president, said: "Bifi and Peperami are two iconic local brands.

"As we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of these two brands can now be more fully realised with Jack Link's."

Since its launch more than three decades ago, the Peperami brand has broadened to include Peperami Minis, Peperami Hot and Peperami Nibblers. It was revamped with new packaging and nutritional improvements in 2007.

Jack Link's launched rival sausage snacks X-Bites and X-Sticks in 2009.

Chief executive Troy Link said: "Jack Link's mission is to be the number one provider of branded meat snacks throughout the world. This acquisition is a significant step in delivering on that mission.

"Bifi and Peperami brands continue to drive growth in meat snacks in their respective territories. We are excited to welcome these brands to the family and look forward to working with all of our team members and retail partners to continue that success."

The Wisconsin-based family company describes itself as the number one US meat snack brand and the fastest-growing meat snack manufacturer worldwide.

Last month, it was reported that Unilever was mulling a £1 billion sale of its SlimFast weight loss range.

In recent years, the Anglo-Dutch company has sold Skippy peanut butter, its Culver Specialty Brands and its frozen meals businesses in the US, and offloaded the UK and Irish rights to cooking sauces Chicken Tonight and Ragu.

Fourth quarter figures from Unilever showed a better-than-expected 4.1% hike in underlying sales growth, which came as a relief after last autumn's profit warning due to currency weakness in countries such as Brazil and India.

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