Private-equity backed US snacks maker Kar’s Nuts will now trade under a new corporate identify to reflect the composition of its better-for-you portfolio, which also includes Second Nature Snacks and Sanders Chocolates.

Second Nature Brands will house all three of those brands as the business seeks to expand through innovation and potentially acquisitions. As part of that endeavour, the company has started work on building an innovation centre, which will be situated within Sanders Chocolates’ facility in Clinton Township, Michigan. 

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CEO Victor Mehren said: “These businesses have grown significantly over the last several years and we see many opportunities for expanding our new platform both through brand innovation, strategic investments and acquisitions. Under the Second Nature Brands umbrella, our market-leading brands are positioned for accelerated growth.”

He continued with respect to innovation: “We are investing over 50% of our resources towards innovation, new product development and production infrastructure, which will significantly increase our capacity in the coming years. Even as we expect our core product lines to continue to grow, we are investing heavily in exciting new products and formulations, which we expect to account for a significant amount of revenues in the coming years.”

All three brands, which are sold in US retailers and via the company's direct-to-consumer channel, are engaged in the same product areas, nuts and trail mixes, which are gluten-free and non-GMO.

In 2017, Kar's Nuts attracted interest from New York-based private-equity firm Palladium Equity Partners, which remains an investor in the business today. The following year, KNPC Holdco of Detroit, then the owner of Kar's and Second Nature, instigated a merger with Morley Candy Makers, a manufacturer of confectionery products sold under the Sanders Fine Chocolate name.

just-food has asked the company for clarification on who are now the main shareholders in the business.

Second Nature Brands has a raft of innovation planned "designed to meet the ever-growing consumer trend for nutritionally-conscious snacking and permissible indulgence". They include Second Nature Smart Mixes; Sanders Organic Dairy-free Sea Salt Caramels; Sanders Sea Salt Caramel Thins; and a Kar's Snack Max line.

Meanwhile, the business has made a key appointment to its board. Edmond Sanctis, once the co-founder, CEO and chairman of Sahale Snacks before it was acquired by the J.M. Smucker Co. in 2014, has been appointed chairman of Second Nature Brands.