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Epic Provisions: Analysts and brand fans react to acquisition by General Mills

By Vince Bamford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Different animals? General Mills and Epic Provisions have joined forces
Different animals? General Mills and Epic Provisions have joined forces

Related tags: General mills, Nutrition

General Mills is tapping key snacking trends – and entering a category tipped to be worth $1.3bn by 2017 - with its acquisition of Epic Provisions, according to analysts Mintel.

The purchase of Texas business Epic – manufacturer of products including the meat, seed and fruit-based Epic snack bars – was announced yesterday and extends General Mills’ presence in the growing natural/organic food category.

General Mills is building a portfolio of natural/organic brands and this acquisition fits well with this strategy and will meld nicely with the Annie's Homegrown brand​ [acquired by General Mills in 2014], which has also ventured into snacks​,” Mintel global food and drink analyst Patty Johnson told BakeryandSnacks.

Protein source of choice

The deal also takes General Mills into the meat snacks category, which has been growing rapidly and, in the US, is proving particularly attractive to US adults in households with children under 18 years old, as well as Millennial age consumers.

According to Mintel’s 2015 Snack, Nutrition and Protein Bars report, 32% of snack bar users look for bars that are high in protein, while 19% of US consumers select meat as their protein source of choice, the fourth leading option behind nuts, seeds, and grains.

The company does not really have a meat snack brand, so this protein-rich brand, projected to do $20 million in revenue in 2015, will give General Mills an opportunity to tap into snacking trends, as well as take advantage of consumer movement into high protein snacks​,” added Johnson.

Other food giants have extended into meat snacking in recent years, she pointed out, including Hershey with its acquisition of the Krave jerky brand in 2015.

Epic Provisions fans react to sale

Epic food
Epic's brand message is focused on ethical sourcing

Epic Provisions’ decision to sell to General Mills has received a mixed reaction from fans of the brand.

The meat snacks business was launched in 2013 by Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest, and the Epic brand message has focused on the sourcing of meat from humanely treated animals that have been grass-fed.

In a blog posted on the Epic brand website yesterday, the founders said:

Our decision to sell Epic to General Mills will exponentially influence large-scale grassland restoration, further create a need for pasture raised animals, as well as increase the availability of our nourishing food to consumers…  

'Tangible and measurable change'

By integrating disruptive companies and learning from young entrepreneurs, big food business like General Mills can leverage financial and operational resources to create tangible and measurable change…

This acquisition is NOT about General Mills changing Epic, but rather Epic changing General Mills​.”

News of the sale was welcomed by many consumers on the Epic Facebook page, with messages of congratulation such as: “Can't wait to see you flourish and make a positive impact on the current market.​”; and “This is such an incredible thing for the industry and is the surest sign that the real-food revolution is changing the world for the better.​”

Unhappy with decision

But others are clearly unhappy with the decision, with some claiming they will stop buying Epic bars as a result of the sale: “I hate when these amazing, small companies sell out to these large corporations.​”; and “I sure hope it's Epic changing GM and not the other way around.​”

In response to some of the Facebook concerns, Epic pointed out that it is operating independently of General Mills: “we have the final say regarding ingredients, production, product development, and pricing​”.

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1 comment

An alternative growth plan in premium meat snacks

Posted by Josh Tabin,

My wife and I were surprised and intrigued to see this announcement Wednesday. While we acknowledge the debate about what can happen when a smaller brand is acquired by a larger CPG company, we know there’s not one right way to grow. As a fellow premium, natural and ethically-focused producer of meat-based snacks (we offer five flavors of The Original Meat & Veggie Bar®) what we found exciting about this news was that it, along with Hershey’s acquisition of KRAVE, affirms the exciting growth in our category. We also find ourselves recommitted to growing our business as a family-owned company that sources from local farms to create our bars with grass-fed, natural and free-range meats, and organic veggies. While we may not experience as fast of growth by remaining family-owned, we do believe we can still have a positive impact on the planet and the bodies of our customers. Feel free to learn more about us at wildzora.com.

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