Hormel Foods has acquired Justins, a US maker of nut-butter products

Hormel Foods has acquired Justin's, a US maker of nut-butter products

Hormel Foods has struck a deal to buy US nut-butter product maker Justin's.

The acquisition, announced today (18 May) for an undisclosed sum, will, when finalised, see the Justin's brand join a business that owns peanut butter brand Skippy.

Justin's produces four nut-butter based snack lines - spreads, squeeze packs, peanut butter cups and snack packs.

"Justin's naturally delicious, high-quality nut butters, nut butter snacks and organic peanut butter cups align perfectly with our goal of complementing our existing brands with new offerings that resonate with younger, on-the-go and more health-conscious consumers," Hormel chairman and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said.

James Snee, Hormel's president and COO, added: "We are excited to work together with the Justin's team to bring these great products to even more consumers, leveraging key Hormel Foods resources to drive continued innovation and growth to this on-trend category."

Coloardo-based Justin's was set up in 2004 by Justin Gold, who still works for the business. He said: "I look forward to working with the Hormel Foods team, a company that shares our passion for innovation, quality and creating the best possible consumer experience. My goal has always been to build something truly special and Hormel Foods is the right partner to make this an enduring and far-reaching brand."

Justin's will continue to operate from Colorado. In a blog posted on the Justin's website, Gold said staying in Boulder and remaining "an independent operating unit" was one of his "three priorities" when he made a decision to look for a "partner" for the business.

"As we looked into the future and assessed our needs for continued growth, impact and security we made the decision that we need someone who could help bring tremendous operational value while we further our mission," he wrote. "So, how did we select the right partner?  My top three priorities were as follows: we must stay in Boulder, with our people, and remain an independent operating unit; we must maintain and amplify our mission, vision and values; [and] our partner must share in our core competency of nut butter manufacturing and distribution."

Gold sold a minority stake in Justin's to private-equity firm VMG Partners in 2013. Hormel did not disclose the size of VMG Partners' stake when contacted by just-food.

The announcement of the deal for Justin's came alongside the publication of Hormel's second-quarter results, which included profits that beat analyst expectations. The Spam and Muscle Milk maker also lifted its forecast for annual earnings per share.