Kellogg, General Mills and Frito-Lay co-manufacturer and Michigan bakery giant changes ownership

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The quietly massive Roskam co-manufacturers 'the more you eat the more you want' Cracker Jack for Frito-Lay. Pic: Frito-Lay
The quietly massive Roskam co-manufacturers 'the more you eat the more you want' Cracker Jack for Frito-Lay. Pic: Frito-Lay

Related tags: Roskam Baking Co., Entrepreneurial Equity Partners, Mergers and acquisitions, Kellogg company, General mills, Frito-lay, bakery manufacturer

Roskam Baking Co. – one of the largest bakeries in the US, punching in over $600m in annual sales – is merging with better-for-you granola and snacks producer Organic Milling, following its acquisition by Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p).

After nearly a century as a family-owned business, the Chicago-based PE firm has acquired Roskam, which operates a diversified bakery biz with more than two million square feet of real estate, including manufacturing, warehouse and offices at six locations in West Michigan, where the company employs a 2,000+-strong workforce to run more than 30 manufacturing and packaging lines.

The Roskams had prior dealings with e2p managing partner Mark Burgett, who formerly worked at Wind Point Partners and acquired two businesses from Roskam to form Hearthside Food Solutions.

The new owner is merging Roskam with e2p portfolio company Organic Milling – acquired in December 2021 – which has, for over 60 years, been a leading contract manufacturer of better-for-you granola, snacks and ingredients.

However, the Roskam Baking name will be retained – “which has an iconic reputation in the industry” – ​along with its management team to be mindful of the company’s legacy while driving the next phase of growth.

e2p VP Kevin Henneck said it “looks forward to continuing the tradition the Roskam family started nearly 100 years ago, which is manufacturing high-quality food products and making a positive impact on the Grand Rapids business community.”

Industry-leading reputation

The fourth-generation family concern got its start as a doughnut and grocery shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1923. Not much later, brothers Marinus and Arie Roskam acquired a food manufacturing business and moved to Grand Rapids.

In the 1970s, Roskam forayed into private label manufacturing with Rothbury Farms, which specialises in croutons, stuffing and breadcrumbs.

Over the years, the company has further diversified its portfolio to include granola and RTE cereals, cereal bars and other snacks, as well as range of frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable food products, and specialised products such as gluten-free and non-GMO.

Today, Roskam manufacturers for massive brand owners like Kellogg, General Mills and Frito-Lay, including the snack giant's iconic Cracker Jack brand.

“For the past 100 years, my family has grown Roskam into a food manufacturing company with an industry-leading reputation for quality and reliability,”​ said Bob Roskam.

“I am confident e2p is the best partner to carry on our culture of excellence and long legacy of unmatched customer satisfaction.

“In many cases, our customers have entrusted Roskam’s adept management and special capabilities to meet their unique needs for multiple generations, and I believe e2p is worthy of that trust.”

Growing the business

Going forward, the PE firm plans to seek out additional growth opportunities, including add-on deals.

Said Burgett, “We plan to execute our consistent and repeatable playbook: growing the business by executing specific and identified initiatives to drive organic growth alongside existing and new customers and by pursuing strategic, transformative acquisitions that will enhance our manufacturing capabilities and expand our geographic reach.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. New York City-based Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal adviser to e2p.

Entrepreneurial Equity Partners targets investments in the food and consumer packaged goods industries with at least $50m in revenue. In 2021, e2p closed its inaugural fund (Fund 1) with $423m in commitments.

In addition to Organic Milling, Fund I has invested in Sara Lee Frozen, Charcuterie Artisans, Salm Partners (the largest US manufacturer of sausages utilising a differentiated, co-extrusion, cook-in-package manufacturing process), authentic Med specialist World Food Holdings and Ya Ya Foods (one of North America’s largest co-packers of aseptic food and beverage products).

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