hamburg Hamburg spice trader Ankerkraut has sold most of the company to the Nestlé food group. The company, which became known through the “Die Höhle des Löwen” program, unleashed a violent shitstorm.
The takeover of the majority of the Hamburg spice trader Ankerkraut by the world’s largest food company Nestlé has caused a real shitstorm on social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, the vast majority of users across all channels reject the deal. Many accuse founders Anne and Stefan Lemcke of having betrayed their values and announce a boycott of Ankerkraut products. A number of influencers, including LeFloid, are also moving away from the company, which first became known through its appearance on the “Die Höhle der Löwen” (DHDL) TV show in 2016.
The resentment is directed against the choice of the new partner. The Nestlé group has been criticized for years. Many accuse him of profiting from his products at the expense of the poorest. But it is also on fire because of the clearing of the rainforest, the exploitation of water resources and, more recently, because of the agreements with Russia during the Ukraine 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 see no other option but to work with they”. Finish Ankerkraut ASAP.”
Meanwhile, founders Anne and Stefan Lemcke asked critics to exercise restraint. “As a brand, we stand for a very special customer proximity and a close exchange with our fans from the very beginning,” the founding couple of the German Press Agency said on Thursday. That is why Ankerkraut does not close the debate. “What we do not accept is the hate on the internet and the insults to the people who work at Ankerkraut,” they both emphasized. They admitted that the criticism, which was spread mainly through social networks, did not leave them or the employees unscathed.
However, they are determined to show “that we mean it when we say: Ankerkraut will remain Ankerkraut, we will continue to operate as an independent company.” The founding couple expressly apologized to the angry cooperation partners. “We sincerely regret that we were unable to inform you in advance and that you were surprised by the news.”
Support came from juror and “Lion’s Den” investor Frank Thelen, who had taken Ankerkraut under his wing at the time. “Wow, who would have thought that during your performance in DHDL? Now you yourself are a lion and win Nestlé as a partner with Ankerkraut, ”he congratulated on Facebook. The love for the product, the passion for the team and strong communication have made Ankerherz 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 the 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 parts of the management shares, and will thus become the majority owner 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 the south of Hamburg was founded in 2013 as a start-up company. The company now has more than 230 employees and, with the sale of more than 500 spices and spice mixes, sauces, teas and accessories, achieves sales in the mid-double-digit million range.