Sauer Brands acquires kernel season’s maker Chicago Custom Foods

USA – Sauer Brands, the Duke’s Mayonnaise and The Spice Hunter brands owner has announced that it has closed the acquisition of Chicago Custom Foods (CCF), further strengthening its position in the seasonings category.

Chicago-based CCF is a leader in branded popcorn seasonings, a category it created in 2000 with the introduction of Kernel Seasons, one of America’s best-selling brands with more than 20 popcorn flavors.

Over the years, CCF has also expanded into new food categories recently with brands that include Tasty Shakes oatmeal mix-ins and Veggie Season’s vegetable seasonings.

The company has also unveiled plans of releasing a new line of premium truffle-flavored popcorn seasonings, Truffle Season’s, later this year. 

Following the acquisition, Sauer Brands, a portfolio company of Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners, said it will operate CCF as a separate business unit.

According to a statement released by the company, the business will be led by Jason Roy, CCF’s current Chief Executive Officer and a 17-year veteran of the company. Roy will report to Sauer Brands CEO Martin Kelly. 

“CCF 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.”  

Also commenting on the deal, Roy said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the results our team has achieved in extending our market leadership in popcorn seasonings and developing new offerings for the hot cereal and fresh produce categories.

“We are excited about joining the Sauer Brands family and look forward to working with Bill and Martin to accelerate growth for all of our brands.”  

Chicago Custom Foods’ products will now join Sauer Brands’ broad line of flavors including condiments, spices, seasonings and extracts.

Chicago Custom has already established a strong distribution network with its products being sold through more than 30,000 distribution points in the U.S. and more than 30 countries internationally.

Its Kernel Season’s brand has also enjoyed strong sales as popcorn and other snack foods continue to gain favor with consumers. 

“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 Falfurrias Capital Partners principal Chip Johnson.

“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.” 

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