Hershey Co. on Jan. 29 unveiled an agreement to acquire Krave Pure Foods Inc., a maker of meat jerky. The price was not disclosed. If consummated, the deal will allow Hershey to tap into the rapidly growing meat snacks category and further expand into the broader snacks space.
This comes less than a month after Hershey bought Canada's Allan Candy Co., which apparently was as much about manufacturing capacity as it was about brands.
“Krave jerky is a great fit to our portfolio and overall snacks and adjacencies strategy,” said Michele Buck, Hershey's president for North America. “The Krave brand delivers on portable and protein nutrition while also understanding consumers’ food preferences, including the desire for simple ingredients and transparency, something that is also a part of Hershey’s strategic vision."
Krave was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Sebastiani, who will remain with the business as president, reporting to Buck. "Joining the Hershey family will extend our resources for innovation and expand Krave jerky’s presence in the larger healthy snacking category," he said.
Krave will operate as a standalone business within the Hershey North America division. It will remain headquartered in Sonoma, Calif. The company had about $35 million in sales over the past 12 months and was named to Forbes' 2015 America’s Most Promising Companies list.
The overall meat snacks category is estimated at $2.5 billion and is growing at a double-digit pace. The better-for-you, premium subset of the category, where Krave participates, increased at a rate of almost four times greater than mainstream brands, the companies said.
Krave uses all-natural ingredients and a unique flavor approach; varieties include Black Cherry Barbeque Pork Jerky, Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky and Chili Lime Beef Jerky. Krave products are free of gluten and high-fructose corn syrup and have no added nitrites or MSG.
Hershey acknowledged Krave had a 2012 minority investment from Alliance Consumer Growth, but did not explain how that would be handled.
Last month's acquisition, Ontario-based Allan Candy, brought brands Allan, Big Foot, Hot Lips and Laces. But more than half of Allan Candy’s current manufacturing capacity is used to make Hershey Sweets & Refreshment products such as Jolly Rancher hard candy and Lancaster caramels for North America.