An Appetite for Acquisition

A busy year of consolidation among snack manufacturers could have an effect on the c-store snack set

Years ago, it might have been unusual for a large snack manufacturer to purchase a smaller natural or organic company. But in 2017, many of the major acquisitions in the category involved larger companies getting in on the better-for-you snacking trend by purchasing the makers of successful healthier brands.

Here are some of the most prominent acquisitions, which will help form the look and taste of new products in the coming year and beyond, in the snack and candy market in 2017:

  • In August, snack manufacturer J&J Snack Foods Corp. acquired the Labriola Baking Co., a premium bakery in Alsip, Ill., near Chicago. Labriola Baking began in 1993 and has grown into a provider of prebaked breads, rolls and soft pretzels for retail in-store bakery and foodservice outlets nationwide.
  • Brynwood VI and Mondelez International sold Back to Nature Foods Co. LLC to B&G Foods Inc., which is home to prominent c-store snack brands such as Ortega and Pirate Brands.
  • A $165 million agreement combining Utz Quality Foods and Inventure Foods, announced in October, linked two firms that offer diversified synergy: Inventure Foods, a company that is honing a specialty, better-for-you reputation, and Utz, a manufacturer with a strong foothold in traditional snacks, such as potato chips, pretzels, cheese snacks, corn chips, tortillas and more.
  • Conagra Brands Inc. entered into a de­finitive agreement in October to acquire Angie’s Artisan Treats LLC, maker of Angie’s Boomchickapop, from TPG Growth. In March, Conagra Brands Inc. also entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Thanasi Foods LLC, maker of Duke’s meat snacks and Bigs seeds.
  • Mars Inc. took a minority stake in Kind via a strategic partnership announced in November. The  partnership will enable Kind to expand its healthy snacks and “social impact work” around the world, while allowing Mars to gain more presence in the growing healthy-snacks category.
  • In December, the Campbell Soup Co. and Snyder’s-Lance Inc. entered into an agreement in which Campbell will acquire Snyder’s-Lance for $50 per share.
  • Also in December, The Hershey Co. and Amplify Snack Brands Inc. entered into a def­initive agreement in which Hershey will acquire all outstanding shares of Amplify. Amplify Snack Brands is behind growing brands such as Skinny Pop, Paqui chips and Oatmega healthy snack bars.

$162.5 billion

Amount for which Brynwood VI and Mondelez International sold Back to Nature Foods to B&G Foods Inc.