Japan’s Maruha Nichiro, one of the world’s largest seafood processors, has invested in US frozen-food business Happi Foodi.

Tokyo-based Maruha Nichiro, which also has operations in meat, including in the US, did not disclose the size of the investment in Happi Foodi.

Originally set up in 2009 as Waffle Waffle making Belgian waffles, the company rebranded in 2018 as the Happi Foodi, producing frozen ready meals, pizza, snacks and appetisers.

Based in Secaucus, New Jersey, Happi Foodi was founded by CEO Sam Rockwell and COO Justin Samuels. It supplies own-branded products to retail customers such as Walmart, Target and Kroger. The company also serves the out-of-home channel and private-label clients.

“Through our partnership with Happi Foodi, we are working together to expand their business by leveraging each other’s strengths,” Maruha Nichiro said in a statement.

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“We have made this investment based on our strategy focused on a capital and business alliance with an experienced partner who will continue to scale and grow in frozen-food manufacturing and continue to capture cutting-edge food sales in North America.”

The Japanese firm operates in the US through a number of businesses: Maruha Nichiro Meat and Products USA; Westward Seafoods; Alyeska Seafoods; and Trans-Ocean Products.

Last year, the company expanded its presence in Japan with a 65% stake in tuna business Marine Access. Maruha Nichiro also acquired Vietnam-based food manufacturer Sai Gon Food, a seafood processor but also a maker of porridge, hot pots and baby food.

Sales and profits for the group fell in the group’s last financial year. In the 12 months to 31 March 2021, sales dropped 4.7% to JPY862.5bn (US$7.1bn).

Operating income declined 5.1% to JPY16.2bn, with profit attributable to company shareholders down 53.9% at JPY5.8bn.