SunOpta today signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of the Canadian fruit snack maker, which include manufacturing facilities in the west and east of Canada.
Rik Jacobs, president and COO at SunOpta, said Niagara Natural aligned well with the company’s focus on healthy and convenient snacking.
“Not only are we adding a growing business that enhances our leadership position in this on-trend category, but we are adding a talented team with operational expertise and a customer base comprised of high-quality, blue chip retailers,” he said.
The Ontario-based fruit snack firm is expected to generate C$10m in revenue for 2015.
All 35 Niagara Natural employees will be kept and its president John Boot will lead SunOpta’s combined fruit snack category.
Boot said the acquisition would enable his team to expand its current platform and innovation pipeline. “Combining our existing fruit snack platform creates a strong market leader in the growing fruit snack category.”
Fruit snacking promise
The global fruit snack market was pegged at $5.9bn for 2014 – up from $5.6bn the previous year, according to data from Euromonitor International.
Steve Bromley, CEO of SunOpta, said fruit snacking was certainly an area of growth opportunity for SunOpta.
“We see product innovation opportunities in healthy and organic packaged fruit snacks, but also in fruit-based ingredients and new products focused on mainstream snacking.
“Our ongoing investment in new product development plays a key role in our growth strategy, and the fruit snack category is a great example of a category where we intend to provide innovative products for existing and new customers,” he said.
Earlier this year, BakeryandSnacks.com spoke to a number of fruit snack manufacturers who said that the future of fruit snacking product development had to follow a ‘less is more’ approach.