US-based chocolate dip maker Saco Foods has acquired sun-dried tomato products supplier California Sun Dry Foods for an undisclosed sum.

Saco, which also makes buttermilk products but is perhaps best known for its Dolci Frutta chocolate hard-shell dessert dip, said the deal will help expand its presence in the produce aisle.

In a related move, Charles Olins, formerly the VP of sales and marketing at Concord Foods, has joined Saco as vice president and general manager to grow the California Sun Dry brand under Saco’s ownership.

Tom Walzer, Saco’s CEO and president, said: “With the acquisition of California Sun Dry, Saco has significantly expanded its volume in the produce section.

“We are excited to welcome Charles Olins to the team and grow and build upon California Sun Dry’s successful legacy in the years to come.”

Saco’s and California Sun Dry’s owners had discussed this transaction for several years before the latter’s owners, Gary DeAtley and Bill Riley decided to sell the business to facilitate their retirement. 

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Riley said: “I’ve known Ray Sanna, Saco’s founder, for over 20 years, and Gary and I believe we’ve found the right long-term home for California Sun Dry. It will be exciting to see the combined companies and brands grow and thrive under common ownership.”  

Saco, founded in 1973, sells primarily to supermarkets and mass retailers in the US

California Sun Dry sells shelf-stable sun-dried tomato products through supermarkets, mass retailers and club stores in the US and Canada.