FARGO, N.D. – Responding to growing demand for organic, non-G.M.O. and specialty grain and seed ingredients, Healthy Food Ingredients (HFI) announced the merger of its SK Food International and Hesco/Dakota Organic Products.

Describing the benefits of the combination, Brad Hover, chief executive officer, parent company of the two businesses, said, “With the existing product offerings of both SK Food and Hesco, it is a natural fit to work together to provide value-added ingredients as each company nicely complements the other with its product offerings.”

SK Food International, Fargo, N.D., was founded in 1990 by David and Beverly Skyberg. It processes and markets identity-preserved, non-bioengineered/non-genetically modified and organic grains, seeds, soybeans and pulses in whole, flour and flake forms and as expeller-pressed oils. When HFI recapitalized SK Food in October 2013, it kept the family ownership with Mr. Skyberg continuing to serve as a board member, along with second-generation owners Jennifer Tesch and Aaron Skyberg.

Hesco/Dakota Organic Products, based in Watertown, S.D., specializes in conventional and organic wheat, durum, barley, rye, flax, ancient grains and more in whole and milled forms. It has a variety of multigrain whole bakery blends, cereal and prepared food blends as well as pet food blends.

“As a result of the merger, both Hesco and SK Food have expanded what we are able to offer our existing domestic and international customers,” said Brad Hennrich, Hesco’s president. Like the Skyberg family’s interest in SK Food, Mr. Hennrich continues to maintain ownership in Hesco.

Mr. Hennrich predicted the merged companies will reach new areas of the food processing and foodservice industries and “be able to better provide our customers the supply assurance required in today’s competitive specialty grains market through our vast grower network.”

Both SK Food and Hesco are certified organic by QAI. They are certified kosher through Orthodox Union and non-G.M.O. by Non-GMO Project Verified. SK Food is in the process of Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, with planned completion for June 2015, while Hesco currently holds “A” grades for both its South Dakota and Nebraska facilities through British Retail Consortium (BRC) audits. Both SQF and BRC are recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

HFI is backed by Horizon Holdings, L.L.C., a private investment firm. The merger was effective Dec. 24, 2014.