Confectionery giant Cadbury has sold the brand and assets of Mother Earth snack food to Hamilton-based Prolife Foods, it has been confirmed.

The acquisition by Prolife, for an undisclosed sum, was made in a bid to expand Mother Earth's existing range and take the brand into "new categories".

The Mother Earth brand is part of the wrapped health category across muesli bars, fruit sticks and oaty slices.

Cadbury has recently announced it is developing its Dunedin factory, which currently produces Mother Earth, as a specialist centre of excellence for chocolate assortments.

Prolife Foods is among New Zealand's largest privately owned and operated food businesses, and one of the largest importers, manufacturers and marketers of nuts, dried fruit, healthy snacks, cereals and confectionery.

The company will add this acquisition to existing brands "Alison's Pantry" in bulk self selection and "Value Pack", a growing offering in the packaged nut, dried fruit and confectionery categories.

The relocation of the Mother Earth's processing facilities will create 20 new positions in Hamilton.

Prolife Food's founder and managing director Bernie Crosby said the purchase adds a new and "exciting dimension" to the business.

"Our product mix is predominantly nutritional snacks and it is a wonderful segment to be in, consistent with today's global megatrends of good nutrition, good taste and sustainability. Research confirms that Mother Earth is an outstanding consumer brand, and we want to ensure that its potential is achieved by expanding the offering under the Mother Earth brand," he added in a statement emailed to just-food.

A spokesperson for Cadbury told just-food: "While Mother Earth with its unique brand proposition of being close to nature is a strong brand of muesli bars, baked oaty slices and baked fruit sticks, we believe that another owner could provide greater focus and grow the brand.

"The Mother Earth brand will continue to be produced by Cadbury at Dunedin, New Zealand, until the transaction is completed. We expect this will take place in mid-November."

Prolife Foods has total sales revenue of $65-$70m and 300 staff. It is among New Zealand's largest privately owned and operated food businesses, and one of the largest importers, manufacturers and marketers of nuts, dried fruit, healthy snacks, cereals and confectionery.