Tofurky purchased by Morinaga Nutritional Foods for an undisclosed amount

Diving summary:

  • Plant-based food pioneer Tofurky and its sister brand Moocho have been acquired for an undisclosed amount by Morinaga Nutritional Foods, which is the US manufacturer of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu. Morinaga now owns the third-largest retail plant-based meat brand in the United States, according to a statement about the acquisition.
  • Morinaga has been a supplier of Tofurky’s tofu for 17 years. This acquisition will strengthen the integrated supply chain for both brands, as well as help them grow in their categories, according to a statement.
  • Named after the signature Thanksgiving round roast that first appeared on dinner tables in 1995, Tofurky was a family-owned business that blazed several trails in the plant-based industry. The company is run by Jaime Athos, stepson of founder Seth Tibbott.

Diving information:

In the United States, Tofurky has been synonymous with plant-based meat.

While the company wasn’t the first to make plant-based meat substitutes available to a wide swath of consumers, its plant-based roast beef garnered a lot of attention and interest. That intrigue, along with a brand message that brought joy and humor to plant-based food choices, helped grow the company.

tofurky It has recently been a leader in the not-so-cheerful side of plant-based foods, with the company serving as lead plaintiff in pending lawsuits over plant-based meat labeling in Oklahoma, Missouri, and an appealed case in Louisiana. Last year, the company saw a legal victory with its case in Arkansas, in which a judge ruled that state law that prohibited plant-based meat companies from using meat terminology on their labels and marketing was unconstitutional.

In recent years, tofurky has experienced the greatest growth and product diversification in its history. moocho Officially launched in early 2020, featuring dairy-free cheesecakes and cheese. Tofurky has also broken into new areas of plant-based meat, including sandwich slices and burgers.

According to disclosure documents filed by Morinaga Nutritional Foods’ parent company, Morinaga Milk, Tofurky’s net sales for the fiscal year ending December 2021 were nearly $42.4 million.

Morinaga Nutritional Foods is relatively unknown in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of Morinaga Milk, a Japanese company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange that does business in dairy, beverages and infant formulas in Asia. In the US, Morinaga’s only product lines are in the tofu, soy, and probiotics sectors.

It makes sense for Tofurky to join forces with a large global company that can give it leverage in other markets. In a statement on the acquisition, Athos said that, over time, Tofurky has realized that they have multiple synergies with Morinaga in areas ranging from supply chain to product development goals.

“We are very proud of what we have accomplished thus far as an independent, family-operated company, but as we enter our next stage of growth, Morinaga will provide the necessary platform to help us expand more aggressively in the US. . and beyond. ”, Athos said in the statement.

A relationship with Tofurky may also help Morinaga Nutritional Foods further expand in the US. The disclosure document on the acquisition says Morinaga sees “enormous potential” in the US plant-based food sector.

A spokesperson told Food Dive that Morinaga is keeping Tofurky’s leadership team in place and will reinforce what is already in place with his resources, knowledge and experience.

In 2020, Athos told Food Dive that there has been a lot of interest in Tofurky as an M&A target over the years, and they always looked closely at offers.

“That’s still a question we ask ourselves: Could someone else do more with this brand than us?” he said. “If the answer to that is yes, then we should probably say yes to those offers.”

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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