General News

AUA Private Equity-backed TruFood Manufacturing Acquires Simply Natural Foods

PITTSBURGH – TruFood Manufacturing, a leading snack food contract manufacturer, backed by AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC, on July 31 announced the acquisition of Simply Natural Foods (SNF), a leader in the better-for-you co-manufacturing segment.

As part of the integration, Simply Natural Foods will operate as TruFood going forward and will be led by TruFood's President, Ted Schouten, and Greek-American CEO Pete Tsudis. Abe Brach, President and CEO of Simply Natural Foods, will be departing in the coming weeks to pursue his other business endeavors. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This transaction represents a significant and exciting milestone for our company," said Ted Schouten, President of TruFood. "Simply Natural Foods has been a leader in the nutrition bar and confectionery manufacturing industry with a solid reputation for high-quality standards, continuous innovation, excellent management, and great tasting products. We are excited to add the SNF team to our family and look forward to working together on advancing our shared growth plan with a focus on providing customers with a broad range of snack brands and products."

The acquisition of Simply Natural Foods complements the TruFood brand and expands its position in the growing nutritional bar and better-for-you chocolate moulded snacking segment. Established in 1992, Simply Natural Foods develops and produces nutrition bars and confections for leading food brands. Simply Natural Foods has 200 employees and is headquartered in Commack, NY.

Pete Tsudis, CEO of TruFood, added, "The combination of TruFood and Simply Natural Foods allows us to leverage the success Simply Natural Foods has established in the better-for-you snacking segment and enables us to serve a larger customer base with a broader range of product offerings. We are thrilled about the meaningful value-added opportunities that this acquisition will provide for our employees, customers and other strategic partners."

Kyce Chihi, Managing Director of AUA Private Equity, said, "This acquisition represents our strong commitment and support to TruFood's growth strategy as we add network capacity, broaden our production capabilities and expand our position in high growth categories. We are excited to welcome the Simply Natural Foods team as we continue to grow the TruFoods platform."

About TruFood Manufacturing

TruFood Manufacturing is a leading contract manufacturer of branded and private-label nutrition bars, protein bars, chocolate moulded products, and baked goods. These products are sold at club, grocery, drug, convenience, and department stores worldwide. TruFood has a large presence on the East Coast with over 400,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and continues to grow through its strong reputation for manufacturing high quality snack products for its marquee customer base.

George Bardos came to the Pittsburgh region from Greece in the early 1900s and began making chocolate in Washington, PA. In the late 1950s, Spiro Tsudis graduated from University of Pittsburgh and started his career at Clark Candy Co. in Pittsburgh. The two men met soon after when Spiro began dating George's daughter, Marjorie, who he later married. After a nearly 30-year career at Clark, 54-year-old Spiro decided to leave his executive position to start his own chocolate company.

In 2001, Pete and George Tsudis acquired company and changed name to Tsudis Chocolate. Under the leadership of Spiro and Marjorie's eldest son, Pete, the company expanded its capabilities to include nutrition and protein bars. In 2013, Tsudis Chocolate changed name to TruFood Mfg to reflect broader product offerings.

About AUA Private Equity Partners, LLC

AUA Private Equity Partners is a New York based, operationally-focused, lower middle-market investment firm providing strategic capital to companies in the consumer products and services sectors with a particular focus on family-owned businesses or companies benefiting from the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population. AUA Private Equity makes equity investments of $20 to $75 million in companies that generate in excess of $5 million in EBITDA. For more information on AUA Private Equity Partners, please visit www.auaequity.com.

About Simply Natural Foods

Simply Natural is a co-manufacturer of renowned nutrition and better-for-you chocolate and bar brands for large and high-growth CPG companies as well as private label customers. It has a diversified portfolio of products including, functional and diet bars, chocolate bars, peanut butter cups as well as other moulded and extruded snack items. The Company currently operates out of an SQF Level 2 certified facility based in Commack, NY (Long Island).


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