Private investment firm Highlander Partners has acquired US organic candy manufacturer Hillside Candy. 

Hillside, which was founded in 1945, makes organic sugar-free and traditional confections under brands including GoOrganic, GoLightly, Pick Your Color and Hillside Sweets. According to Highlander, GoOrganic is “one of the earliest and most successful” brands in the organic confectionery space. 

“GoOrganic and GoLightly are exceptional brands that deliver high-quality, clean label and mouth-watering products. It is no secret that retailers dedicate more and more shelf space to organic and sugar-free products and these trends are here to stay,”  said Alex Guiva, chairman of Hillside and partner at Highlander. 

All of the company’s products are manufactured in the US, with a focus on no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours. The company holds organic, kosher and non-GMO certifications. 

The confectioner has a presence in grocery and drugstore chains, mass merchandisers, club stores, gourmet retailers, gift companies and other channels domestically and internationally. Customers include Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market, Natural Grocers, Shoprite, Wegmans, Stop & Shop, and Hannaford’s.  

Guiva said that Highlander will support Hillside’s growth by expanding the base business and looking at M&A. “We will continue Hillside’s business strategy of innovation, creativity, flexibility and customer service. In addition to growing its existing base of business, Hillside will serve as a platform for future strategic acquisitions that will expand our offerings, sales channels and scale.”

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Following the transaction, Ted Cohen will continue serving as president of Hillside.   

“I am excited to partner with the Highlander team to continue the growth of the Hillside business,” Cohen said. “Highlander and its principals have a long history of success in the confection and food industries and I am looking forward to expanding our company with a partner that brings such deep and relevant experience together with financial resources to our business.”