Kraft Foods has sold a majority stake its Back to Nature brand to private-equity firm Brynwood Partners.

The deal will result in the formation of a joint venture between Kraft and Brynwood. Kraft will retain a "substantial minority stake" in the business and will have board representation, Brynwood said today (22 August). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Back to Nature brand was founded in 1960 and the joint venture will initially produce Back to Nature natural crackers, cookies, trail mixes and nuts and granola.

Announcing the move, Brynwood said it will appoint Vincent Fantegrossi and president and CEO of the new company. The investment vehicle said Fantegrossi previously headed up Brynwood Richelieu Foods, an investment that returned "over six times" total capital invested and generates a gross internal rate of return of over 40% for the fund.

"We look forward to growing the Back to Nature brand and helping it to achieve even greater success in both the natural and mainstream channels through select new product and new category introductions, while staying true to the mission of giving people truly flavourful, wholesome foods made with simple ingredients," Brynwood senior partner Henk Hartong III said.

"We are excited to work with Kraft in this unique joint venture between a private equity firm and a consumer products company formed to maximize the value of a smaller brand in its portfolio," Hartong added.

Management of the existing Back to Nature macaroni and cheese business will remain with Kraft, reflecting its future focus following the planned split from its global snacks business, which will be renamed Mondelez International. Kraft has indicated it plans to focus its North American business on grocery categories such as dairy and deli meats.