Hearthside Food Solutions acquires bars and cookie firm Oak State Products

By Vince Bamford

- Last updated on GMT

Hearthside acquires bars and cookie manufacturer Oak State

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Hearthside Food Solutions is tapping growing demand for contract food manufacturing with the acquisition of Illinois bars and cookie producer Oak State Products.

The deal for the privately held contract manufacturer of cookies, bars and other baked foods will take the number of Hearthside production facilities to 24, with 21 of these across eight states in the US and three in Europe. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Overall sales in the US snack bars market have grown 4.2% year on year to be worth $3.3bn in the first six months of this year [IRI 52w/e July 10 2016]. Growth has been led by nutrition bars, up 5.2% year on year.

Hearthside describes itself as the largest contract manufacturer of bars and baked goods in North America and the largest producer of functional bars in the EU.

Oak State represented an opportunity to add immediate baking capacity as demand for food contract manufacturing continues to grow, said Hearthside founder and chairman Rich Scalise.  

"Their flexible production lines complement our existing large-scale lines, creating additional options for our customers​." he added. “We see synergies in operations, cultures and customers. Most importantly, Oak State is already a mature, well-run operation. We anticipate a smooth and rapid integration​.”

'Active customer base'

Hearthside SVP of supply chain Dwayne Hughes said it would have taken two years to bring a new plant into operation, while the Oak State site in Wenona was a “functioning operation with an active customer base​”.

We can immediately focus on bringing the facility up to our world-class manufacturing standards​,” he added.

Oak State said the transition for employees and customers had been "transparent with no operational changes​". 

Hearthside moved into the European market last summer with the acquisition of nutrition, diet, and functional bars manufacturer VSI. At that time, in a separate deal, it also acquired a nutritional supplement bar production facility in Boise, Idaho from a subsidiary of Post Holdings.

In 2014, Hearthside was acquired by the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners.

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