Vancouver, British Columbia-based organic foods manufacturer Nature’s Path Foods has acquired the Country Choice Organic brand from New Century Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Grain Millers, Inc. adding 18 Country Choice’s products that include canister oats and grits, instant hot oatmeal pouches and cookies.
And leading BC/Canadian and global organic food ingredients supplier SunOpta has acquired the assets of Ontario’s Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Company Inc for $6.7 million, and also acquired US conventional and organic frozen fruit supplier Sunrise Growers for $450 million.
Nature’s Path Foods co-founder and executive vice president, sales and marketing, Arran Stephens, said that the deal allows both organizations to continue to build the organic segment to the benefit of consumers and retailers. Nature’s Path was Canada’s first certified organic food manufacturer.
“We look forward to the opportunity for the company to increase its presence in the organic hot cereal category,” he said.
Grain Millers and Nature’s Path have enjoyed a 30-year history of partnership and share a long-term commitment to the growth of the organic industry.
The Country Choice Organic brand will begin transitioning to Nature’s Path branded packaging in the fall of 2015. To streamline product overlap, Nature’s Path will be discontinuing several Country Choice Organic instant hot oat pouches.
In late May, Nature’s Path Foods announced it had pledged $20,000 in funding for the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative (POGI), which works to help Canadian organic grain growers expand into international markets.
POGI, a pan-western partnership between the Organic Alberta Council, the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate, the Manitoba Organic Alliance, and the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia, is receiving $1.2 million in federal support under the Western Diversification Program (WDP).
Also in May, the company purchased 2,760 acres in northern Montana that will help increase organic farmland, attract and educate new farmers, as well as meet the growing demand for organic grains and legumes.
“As an independent, family-run company, we have the freedom to put our money where our heart is, in support of sustainable agriculture—beyond just making organic products,” Arran Stephens said. “By purchasing fertile land and working with organic family farmers, we ensure the purity of our foods, increase organic acreage to sustain growth, prevent poisoning the environment, and provide for future generations.”
SunOpta Inc. said in August it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Company Inc. (“Niagara Natural”).
“Niagara Natural is a growing and innovative manufacturer of healthy non-GMO and organic fruit snacks, enhancing SunOpta’s existing healthy snack platform and focus on integrated consumer products,” SunOpta said.
“Niagara Natural is a strong strategic fit within our core vertically integrated consumer products strategy, aligning well with our focus on healthy and convenient snacking,” said Rik Jacobs, President and COO of SunOpta.
Based in the Niagara Region in Ontario, Niagara Natural is expected to generate approximately CDN $10 million in revenue in 2015, and has approximately 35 employees, all of whom are expected to join SunOpta. John Boot, who founded Niagara Natural in 2009 and serves as its president, will lead SunOpta’s combined fruit snack category.
In late July, SunOpta Inc. signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sunrise Holdings (Delaware), Inc. (“Sunrise Growers”) from an investor group led by affiliates of Paine & Partners LLC.
Sunrise Growers generates approximately $300 million in annualized revenues, supplying a diverse base of retail and foodservice customers from its facilities in California, Kansas and Mexico.
“The acquisition of Sunrise Growers is transformative for our company as it significantly expands our scale in the private label frozen fruit category and aligns well with consumer demands for healthy, convenient and minimally processed foods,” Mr Jacobs said.
“It also provides us with an immediate leadership position in frozen fruit that broadens and deepens our existing customer relationships and complements our leadership in the aseptic non-dairy category. Ed Haft, president and CEO of Sunrise Growers, will lead our frozen fruit operations after the transaction closes.”