NEW YORK — Kosher foods distributor Kayco is planning to acquire the Manischewitz company, according to Jerusalem-based Jewish newspaper Hamodia.
The Manischewitz Co. is one of the largest kosher foods companies in the United States and the largest matzah (unleavened bread) maker in the world. Its portfolio features several kosher brands, including Carmel, Elite, Mother’s, Rokeach, Mrs. Adler’s and Tradition.
Further details about the transaction will be disclosed once the sale is complete, Hamodia said. Hamodia also said the deal, which is expected to close soon, excludes Manischewitz’s Season brand of sardines, canned fish and vegetables.
The Manischewitz Co. has undergone a series of ownership changes since it was founded in 1888. The Manischewitz family took the company public in 1923. In 1990, it was taken private by Kohlberg & Company. Richard A. Bernstein bought the company in 1998, and in 2004 its name was changed to the R.A.B. Food Group, L.L.C. It was sold to Harbinger Capital in 2007 and later acquired by Sankaty Advisors (part of private investment firm Bain Capital) in 2014. Throughout these ownership changes, the legacy company has remained a household name among Jewish consumers. Today, it operates out of Bayonne, N.J., and is known as Manischewitz.
Kayco was created through the merger of Kedem Foods, Kenover Marketing and B&W Foods. The company owns several kosher food brands, including Kedem, Sabra and Fox’s U-Bet, and distributes over 70 others. It is owned by the Herzog family, which also owns Kedem Wine Corp.
The demand for kosher products is growing, as vegetarian and health-conscious consumers increasingly adopt kosher foods. Last year, 33% of kosher products were also gluten-free, 25% were non-G.M.O., and 22% carried a “without additives or preservatives” claim, according to Innova Market Insights. The global kosher food market is projected to reach $60 billion by 2025.