Hearthside Food Solutions, based in Downers Grove, announced on Monday it reached two separate agreements to enable the company to expand rapidly in the fastest-growing bar categories in the Americas and Europe.
Under one agreement, Hearthside, the largest independent baker in the U.S., is acquiring VSI, the largest European producer of nutrition, diet and functional bars. In a separate agreement, Hearthside is also acquiring a nutritional supplement bar production facility in Boise, Idaho, from a subsidiary of Post Holdings, Inc.
The two transactions will enable the rapid scaling of VSI’s formulations, research and development, product development and full-scale production in the Americas. Terms were not disclosed. Both transactions are expected to close in September.
Hearthside, with 19 U.S.-based facilities, is currently North America’s largest contract manufacturer of bars and baked goods. The VSI acquisition adds three European manufacturing facilities for nutrition, diet and functional bars as well as best-in-class research and development, formulation and innovation capabilities.
“This is both a category and geographic expansion, putting Hearthside into the three fastest-growing bar categories as well as in the European market, where VSI is a leader,” Hearthside Founder and Chairman Rich Scalise said. “The R&D and production expertise of VSI in the fast-growth categories of nutrition, diet and functional bars enables Hearthside to take a quantum leap forward, providing our customers with the most complete offerings in the industry.”
The acquisition of a recently idled nutritional supplement bar production facility in Boise, Idaho, enables Hearthside to begin production of these new categories in the Americas quickly. This facility, plus the three VSI operations, expands Hearthside’s network to 23 facilities.
“It takes two years from greenfield to operational bar plant,” Hearthside Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Dwayne Hughes said. “We wanted VSI capacity in the North American mix more quickly. This facility is ready to go today. The timing, the location, and the state-of-the-art equipment provides a perfect solution that makes us competitive in more bar categories immediately.”