The business – which grows and processes popcorn for customers across the US and in more than 65 other countries – has acquired Missouri-based K&W Popcorn, which it described as “a leading provider of premium organic popcorn”.
Preferred said the deal, which is its third acquisition since it was founded in 1997, “strengthens its position as one of the largest popcorn providers in the world”.
The acquisition means Preferred joins the ranks of major manufacturers looking to meet increasing demand for organic, non-GMO, and allergen-free snacks.
Growing interest in organic
General Mills last month announced it had accelerated efforts to double its organic acreage as it looks to grow its revenue from natural and organic products. And Flowers Foods this month begins its national roll-out of organic brand Dave’s Killer Bread, stating organic bread is a key part of its growth strategy.
The move also enables Preferred to enter the organic market without the requisite three-years transition from conventional farms to organic farms.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” said Krug. “We are seeing an increase in demand for organic products in both domestic and international markets. Acquiring a certified organic popcorn facility allows Preferred Popcorn to immediately supply our customers with an organic, US-grown product.”
Preferred and K&W are both family businesses, and Preferred Popcorn founder and CEO Norm Krug has known Bill Kennebeck, founder of K&W Popcorn, for more than 30 years.
The K&W factory in Trenton, Missouri, will continue to be run by Kennebeck’s son, John,
“My father started K&W with the vision of operating a family-owned and operated business while producing premium quality popcorn,” he said. “We love the thought of continuing that legacy with Preferred.”
Market analysts Technavio have predicted global sales of popcorn will increase more than 40% to $12.4bn between this year and 2020. Although the US will remain the largest global market for the snack, the country’s share of the category is set to fall from 61.3% to 59.0% as Europe, APAC and Latin America grow at a faster rate.