Document details Aryzta acquisition of Pita Pan

by Eric Schroeder
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Arzyta AG has acquired Pita Pan Old World Bakery, a Chicago Heights, Ill.-based maker of flat breads and pizza crust to restaurant chains and wholesale bakery customers, according to an internal document posted on the Internet.

“This is an exciting time for us since bringing Pita Pan into the Aryzta family will expand our capabilities in the growing, on-trend areas of Mediterranean flatbreads, including lavash wraps, pita pockets and flatbread, as well as pizza crust,” John Yamin, chief executive officer of the Americas and president and global food officer of Aryzta AG, wrote in a document dated Aug. 28. “These capabilities will also enable us to meet customer demand for lighter, portable bread options to satisfy health-conscious and busy consumers.”

Contacted by Milling & Baking News, Aryzta chose not to confirm or deny the acquisition news.

Pita Pan has its roots in a Greek restaurant established in 1972 by brothers Andre and Kostas Papantoniou. The eating establishment became the launching pad for Olympia Foods, which offers Greek meat, sauces and baked foods, and for Pita Pan.  According to Pita Pan, the company’s 100,000-square-foot baking facility has the capacity to produce more than 1 million pieces per day.

Aryzta is an international food company with a leadership position in specialty bakery products. The company was formed in 2008 through the merger of Dublin-based IAWS Group P.L.C. and Hiestand Holding AG of Switzerland.

The Food North America division of Aryzta was assembled through IAWS Group acquisitions before the merger and by high-profile acquisitions made by the new company in 2010.

The pre-merger IAWS Group North American acquisitions included La Brea Bakery, a leader in the artisan bread movement, which was acquired in 2001, and Otis Spunkmeyer, a U.S. manufacturer known for its frozen cookie dough, muffins and other baked goods, which was acquired in 2006.

Major post-merger acquisitions, all completed in 2010, included Fresh Start Bakeries, a global supplier of specialty bakery products with a leading position in the quick-serve restaurant segments; Pennant Foods, a provider of specialty bakery products to the North American quick-serve restaurant, food service and retail in-store bakery sectors, and Sweet Life, a baker of sweet baked goods serving the North American and Asian quick-service restaurant sectors. Also acquired in 2010 was Maidstone Bakeries of Canada.
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