CANNON FALLS, MINN. — Sweet Harvest Foods Holdings (SHFH), a producer of honey, agave and molasses for distribution to the foodservice, retail and manufacturing sectors, has acquired Sweet River Honey, a beekeeping business based in Driftwood, Texas. Sweet River Honey will add hives and beekeeping experience to the SHFH portfolio and enable SHFH to further accomplish its vision of being the world’s most trusted natural sweetener company, according to the companies.

“Sweet Harvest Foods Holdings is deeply committed to growing the natural sweetener market with the highest-quality honey,” said Ken Stickevers, chief executive officer of Sweet Harvest Foods Holdings, which operates facilities in California, Michigan and Minnesota. “By adding Sweet River Honey to our portfolio of companies, we can continue to build trust with customers by advancing best-in-class beekeeping practices and increasing transparency in the honey market.”

Matt Halbgewachs, founder of Sweet River Honey, added, “Sweet River Honey provides pure honey with a hive-to-table philosophy. By combining our passion for pure honey and sustainable beekeeping with the depth of expertise and resources of Sweet Harvest Foods Holdings, we can be part of a team that helps more people discover the way bees intend honey to be — 100% pure, raw and unfiltered.”

The transaction comes a little more than a year after SHFH merged Sweet Harvest Foods, a global natural sweeteners platform and one of the largest honey packers in North America, and Nature Nate’s Honey Co. (Nate’s), a leading branded US honey company and producer of 100% pure, raw and unfiltered honey.

 “The purchase of Sweet River Honey is the result of a decades-long partnership and friendship with Matt Halbgewachs,” said Nathan Sheets, founder and CEO of Nate’s. “Matt has put his heart and soul into the care of his honeybees. He has been a trustworthy partner who is not only committed to producing pure honey with the same level of care and passion that our brand is known for but also shares a vision for bringing the goodness of pure honey to more families across the country. Adding Sweet River Honey to the team is a natural extension of our mission to become the most trusted honey company in the country.”

Per capita honey consumption in the United States neared 2 lbs annually in 2021, up from about 1.25 lbs in 2011, according to the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Annual honey production in the country rose to about 650 million lbs in 2021 from about 400 million lbs in 1991, according to the US Department of Agriculture.