WATERDOWN, ONT. — Harry “Arie” Voortman, who along with his brother William founded Voortman Cookies in 1951, passed away on April 8. He was 87 years old.
Voortman Cookies began in 1951 when two young Dutch brothers, William and Harry Voortman, opened their first bakery in Hamilton, Ont. According to company history, it took five years of dedicated baking and hard work before a Canadian grocery chain agreed to give Voortman Cookies shelf space in their stores. Over the next 60 years Voortman would build a presence as a leading brand in the crème wafer and sugar-free cookies categories. The company also became one of the first North American food brands to announce the removal of trans fats from its retail food products.
In 2015, private equity firm Swander Pace Capital acquired a majority stake in Voortman Cookies and Mr. Voortman stepped away from his daily role as chief executive officer while remaining on the company’s board of directors. Five years later, in 2020, Voortman was acquired by Hostess Brands, Inc. in a transaction valued at $320 million. When the acquisition was first announced, Andrew P. Callahan, president and chief executive officer of Hostess, said the addition of Voortman fits Hostess’ strategy, creating “a larger and more diversified sweet snacking company with a unique and differentiated product suite in the adjacent $8.4 billion cookie category.”
Mr. Voortman was preceded in death by his wife, Anne, and his three brothers. Survivors include his children, Ed (Christa), Robert, Adrian (Janice), Lynn, and Brenda Jorritsma (John), as well as 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.Memorial contributions may be made to The Luke Commission atwww.LukeCommission.org.