Sauer Brands Inc., a maker of iconic flavor-enhancing condiments, seasonings and spices including the Duke’s Mayonnaise and The Spice Hunter brands, has announced that it has closed its acquisition of Chicago Custom Foods LLC.
Chicago-based CCF is a leader in branded popcorn seasonings, a category it created in 2000 with the introduction of Kernel Season’s, now America’s No. 1 selling brand with more than 20 popcorn flavors. CCF has expanded into new food categories recently with brands that include Tasty Shakes oatmeal mix-ins and Veggie Season’s vegetable seasonings. A new line of premium truffle-flavored popcorn seasonings, Truffle Season’s, is set for release later this year.
Sauer Brands, a portfolio company of Charlotte, North Carolina-based private equity firm Falfurrias Capital Partners, will operate CCF as a separate business unit under the leadership of Jason Roy, CCF’s current CEO 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 Inc. “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.”
“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,” said Roy. “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.”
CCF’s products are sold through more than 30,000 distribution points in the U.S. and internationally, including mass merchants, grocery stores and specialty retailers, as well as in movie theaters in 30 countries around the world. Its Kernel Season’s brand has 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.”