Sector News

Canada-based Fine Choice Foods acquired by private equity firm

September 14, 2018
Consumer Packaged Goods

Fine Choice Foods, the Canada-based company which specialises in Asian-flavoured appetisers, has been acquired by US private equity firm Swander Pace Capital.

Based in Richmond, British Columbia, Fine Choice Foods has been serving the North American market since 1986. It makes products such as spring rolls, gyoza and wontons.

Swander Pace Capital said that the company’s products, which include items sold under its Sum-m! brand, enjoy “a wide distribution network among prominent North American retailers”, as well as in select foodservice customers. It highlighted the firm’s “leading position” in the refrigerated appetisers category.

Heather Smith Thorne, managing director at Swander Pace Capital, said: “As a leader in one of the fastest growing segments of an already dynamic industry, Fine Choice is a very attractive investment for us.

“What’s more, the company’s ability to bring innovative, Asian-inspired flavours to a diverse marketplace – using clean, high-quality, natural ingredients – has earned Fine Choice a strong distribution footprint and high customer loyalty.”

The acquisition represents Swander Pace Capital’s second recent investment in the space. In 2017, the firm bought Passport Food Group, a California-based developer, marketer and distributor of globally inspired appetiser, noodle and wrap products to the foodservice and retail channels. Passport Food Group is led by Michael Axelrod, who will also serve as CEO of Fine Choice Foods.

“The team at Swander Pace possesses a strong grasp of changing consumer tastes and preferences,” said Axelrod.

“They have a proven track record in providing consumer companies the guidance and resources they need to perform at the highest levels. We look forward to working alongside the current Fine Choice team to build on the company’s impressive legacy and grow the business through organic growth and acquisitions.”

Swander Pace Capital managing director Mark Poff added: “The decision to add Fine Choice to our portfolio was a highly strategic one. As consumer tastes become wider and more varied, there is tremendous opportunity to build a clear leader in high-quality, on-trend, international cuisine – especially in the prepared and refrigerated category.

“Fine Choice Foods is an exceptional complement to our existing investments in the space, which will continue to remain a major focal point for us as it expands.”

Last year Swander offloaded its stake in Canadian coffee roaster Kicking Horse Coffee to Lavazza.

By Jules Scully

Source: FoodBev

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