Vestar Capital Acquires Baked Snack Producer from Wind Point Partners
November 22, 2017
U.S.-based middle market buyout and growth capital private equity firm Vestar Capital has agreed to acquire Nonni’s Biscotti from Wind Point Partners, which has owned the company since 2011, for an undisclosed amount.
Founded in Oakbrook, Illinois, Nonni’s creates premium artisanal, Italian-inspired based products including biscotti, thin cookies, and dark chocolate items at its manufacturing sites in New York, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Montreal, that are marketed under the Nonni’s THINaddictives, and La Dolce Vita brands through club, grocery, mass market, foodservice, and other retail channels.
“We see numerous growth avenues for Nonni’s premium, established brands,” said Brian O’Connor, managing director of Vestar and co-head of the Consumer Group. “We are excited to be partnering with Brian Hansberry (CEO of Nonni’s), Chris Puma (COO of Nonni’s), and the rest of Nonni’s management team to pursue our shared vision for the Company.”
This deal marks Wind Point’s third successful exit of a CPG this year, however, it also comes only weeks after Evans Food Group, a leading global producer of branded and private label pork rinds that is backed by Wind Point, acquired California-based pork rind producer Gaytan Food Inc.
Strength in Snacking
Over the past number of years snacking has demonstrated continued growth as a consumer trend. However, this growth has recently accelerated with 76 percent of consumers snacking in 2014 increasing to 83 percent of consumers in 2016, according to Technomic.
“With consumers’ lives getting busier, snacks are serving more needs than in the past,” explains Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic. “To gain share, operators and suppliers must adapt their snack lineup to meet consumers’ wide range of need states—from tiding them over to the next meal to replacing meals, to providing nutritious, supplemental treats.”
Consequently, consumers are more often opting for snack foods as health plays a greater role in food choices, and younger consumers blur the lines between snacking and formal meals, reports Food Dive.
Today, 24 percent of all snack foods are eaten during meal times, according to a report issued by The NPD Group, compared to 21 percent five years ago – a trend that is expected to continue, with expectations that the trend will increase by another 12 percent.
These shifts in consumer sentiment and in the market are driving larger companies to reconfigure their portfolios to include smaller CPG companies and startups that closely identify with these trends, as was recently demonstrated in mid-October when Kellogg announced it had agreed to acquire RXBAR, the fastest growing bar brand in the U.S., for $600 million.
For Vestar, which was founded in 1988, and has made more than 80 investments, Nonni’s joins its existing food company investments Birds Eye Foods, Celestial Seasonings, Michael Foods, and Hearthside Food Solutions.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Vestar as we look to build upon Nonni’s growth and success,” said Hansberry. “The Vestar team’s deep consumer experience will be invaluable as we work to expand our customer relationships, enter new channels and continue to introduce new and innovative products to the marketplace.”
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