RICHMOND, VA. — Sauer Brands Inc., maker of condiments, seasonings and spices, has acquired Chicago Custom Foods LLC, creator of Kernel Season’s popcorn seasonings, from Highlander Partners, LP. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Along with Kernel Season’s, Chicago Custom Foods also offers Tasty Shakes oatmeal mix-ins and Veggie Season’s vegetable seasonings. The company plans to launch a line of premium truffle-flavored popcorn seasonings called Truffle Season’s later this year.
"This sale marks the culmination of a very deliberate strategy of broadening the product line through additional flavors to existing products and introducing new seasoning offerings for use with other product categories,” said Jeff Hull, president and chief executive officer of Highlander Partners. “The management team, led by (Chicago Custom Foods CEO) Jason Roy, has driven tremendous growth through innovation, new customer penetration and increased consumer awareness."
Chicago Custom Foods was founded in 2000, and its products are sold in more than 22,000 retailers throughout North America and internationally. The company’s popcorn seasonings are also available in movie theaters in more than 30 countries worldwide.
"Chicago Custom Foods has done a tremendous job growing the Kernel Season's brand, creating a culture of innovation and leveraging an impressive degree of merchandising savvy that we can learn from," said Bill Lovette, executive chairman of Sauer Brands. "We are excited about adding another strong brand to our lineup and partnering with Jason and his team to grow the business through supply chain efficiencies and other synergies."
Kernel Season’s, Tasty Shakes, Veggie Season’s and Truffle Season’s join the Sauer’s, Duke’s Mayonnaise and The Spice Hunter brands in Sauer Brands’ portfolio. A portfolio company of private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners, Sauer Brands plans to operate Chicago Custom Foods as a separate business unit under the leadership of Mr. Roy.
"Kernel Season's is a great fit with the rest of the product portfolio and is in line with the ‘industry first’ packaged foods investment thesis that led to our initial investment in Sauer Brands," said Chip Johnson, principal at Falfurrias Capital Partners. "We continue to seek out opportunities to invest in strong, authentic brands with significant growth potential based on shifting consumer preferences and other durable trends."