Hearthside Food Solution’s acquisition of VSI, headquartered in The Netherlands, was an international marriage made in heaven. Specifically, the VSI purchase not only launched Hearthside onto the global bar scene in 2015, but it also synched VSI’s extensive R.&D. capabilities with Hearthside’s proven model for operational efficiency and continuous improvement, noted Joanie Spencer, Baking & Snack editor, in her October report.
“When you look at energy and nutritional bars today, they’re so much better … they’re chewy and great-tasting and have multiple layers with chocolate, caramel and nuts,” explained Rich Scalise, Hearthside’s chairman and c.e.o. “VSI was one of those driving factors; they played hard in texture, flavor and aroma. They’ve helped us think about these types of bars in a different way.”
Since buying VSI, Downers Grove, Ill.-based Hearthside, one of the nation’s leading co-manufacturers of snacks and baked goods, has acquired a shuttered PowerBar plant in Boise, Idaho. Most recently in October, Hearthside agreed to buy Standard Functional Foods Group, a unit of privately held Nashville, Tenn.-based Standard Candy Co. Eating healthy doesn’t mean consuming products that necessarily taste, uh, healthy.
“Dieting is no longer considered a punishment; it’s a lifestyle,” Ms. Spencer observed. “And while consumers weren’t necessarily asking for a healthier snack bar, the fitness and sports communities were seeking functional products that had the texture and flavor of snack bars. Then mainstream consumers jumped on those functional products, and … boom. Market explosion.”Yes, taste is ultimately that sound for success.