Not just desserts - WhiteWave Foods picks up So Delicious

Not just desserts - WhiteWave Foods picks up So Delicious

WhiteWave announced a deal to acquire So Delicious and move into frozen non-dairy desserts.

WhiteWave Foods continued its expansion Wednesday, this time into the dessert case with an announcement yesterday that the company will pick up So Delicious, a maker of frozen dairy-free treats.

The $195 million deal follows the late 2013 blockbuster acquisition of Earthbound Farms. That $600 million buy gave WhiteWave a substantial footprint in the produce section but the So Delicious buy extends their reach across the non-dairy segment where WhiteWave’s Silk pioneered soy milks. So Delicious offers similar products to the almond, soy and coconut milks and creamers sold under the Silk Brand, but the new acquisition adds what the company is calling  “the #1 plant-based frozen dessert brand in the United States.”

Oregon-based So Delicious reported net sales of $115 million in the 12 months ending June 30. The company was founded in 1987 and was headed by founder Mike Brawerman until last year. WhiteWave increased net sales by 36% in the second quarter 2014, much of that on the cash influx from Earthbound Farms.

The new addition likely builds on that momentum.

In a press release statement WhiteWave CEO Gregg Engles called the buy a strong fit saying So Delicious “builds on our platform of Silk and Alpro branded products by expanding plant-based capabilities and providing new category opportunities.”

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a competitor in plant-based dairy alternatives rivaling the WhiteWave family in the (non)dairy case—Boulder Brand’s Earth Balance Soymilk looks like a bit player—and now So Delicious gives them a very strong presence in desserts. WhiteWave already owns Horizon Organic milk and offers organic creamer under the Land O Lakes label, covering the company across consumer categories and tastes in the dairy section.

The Earthbound Farms acquisition proved WhiteWave has ambitions across the natural & organic categories and So Delicious, with its support of Prop 37 and Non-GMO programs, bolsters the company’s reputation on environmental matters.

Observers will be keen on where the company might look next, especially as bigger CPG companies are hunting organic brands, as proven by General Mills last week when it picked up Annie’s Organic. 

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