Sovos Brands—the food and beverage company behind Michael Angelo’s frozen Italian meals and Rao’s Homemade artisan Italian sauces, pastas and oils—on Tuesday announced that it has signed a merger agreement with Noosa Yoghurt LLC.
The agreement expands Sovos Brands into the yoghurt category. Both Sovos and Noosa are backed by Advent International, an investment firm that operates in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
Noosa was co-founded in 2009 by Koel Thomae, an Australian expat, and Rob Graves, a Colorado dairy farmer, who set out to bring the Aussie-style yoghurt with a creamy texture and sweet-tart flavor profile to the U.S. market.
Noosa is made with whole milk, a touch of wildflower North American honey and real fruit purées on a family farm in Bellvue, Colorado. Sovos values Noosa’s unique culture and its commitment to Colorado and plans to continue to manufacture products at the Bellvue facility.
Headquartered in Berkeley, California, and led by experienced consumer packaged goods executives, Sovos focuses on acquiring high-quality brands in on-trend categories with the potential to accelerate growth by investing in distribution, marketing, production and product innovation.
Noosa is the third brand to join the Sovos portfolio in the past two years. In January 2017, Sovos acquired Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, and in July 2017, it purchased Rao’s Specialty Foods Inc.
“Noosa fits perfectly into our portfolio of one-of-a-kind brands in the food and beverage sector, and we have been impressed by its compelling growth opportunities, attractive consumer demographics and talented employee base,” said Todd Lachman, president and CEO of Sovos Brands. “Noosa shares our unwavering commitment to authentic, delicious-tasting products using only the highest quality ingredients.”
Sovos will guide Noosa into its next phase of growth while remaining true to the brand’s standard of making the finest yoghurt with the finest ingredients, according to Bill Johnson, chairman of both the Noosa and Sovos boards of directors and former chairman, CEO and president of H.J. Heinz.
“With the addition of Noosa, Sovos will become a more powerful force in the food and beverage sector,” Johnson said. “I’ve had a chance to work first-hand with the team at Sovos, and they bring a wealth of knowledge and capability that will help Noosa continue to scale and grow its brand.
“As part of Sovos, Noosa will continue to create the same great ‘farm-to-fridge’ products that consumers expect, and I’m excited about what our companies can achieve together.”
Advent, which acquired a majority interest in Noosa in November 2014, has worked with the company’s founders and management team to accelerate growth. During the past four years, Noosa has more than tripled its sales, market share and local production capacity in Bellvue; introduced more than 25 new flavors and sizes; and increased distribution from 5,000 stores to 25,000 nationwide.
“Noosa’s merger into Sovos is a clear and logical next step for both companies, as they share the same brand and customer-centric values and growth goals,” said Jeff Case, a managing director at Advent. “Noosa has established itself as a market leader in the premium yoghurt category, and we are confident that it will be well positioned for continued success as part of Sovos Brands. We look forward to working with Sovos to identify new growth opportunities across all their brands.”
Source: Sovos Brands