Tribe 9 Foods, a US pasta and peanut butter producer, has acquired local peer Carla’s Pasta for US$26.3m.

Madison, Wisconsin-based Tribe 9, acquired Carla’s, headquartered in South Windsor, Connecticut, through a bankruptcy auction.

Carla’s, which makes fresh pasta, sauces and appetisers, serves the foodservice channel. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February after piling up millions of dollars in debt, blaming the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its sales.

The company, established by Italian immigrants, has been in business for 43 years and has around 140 employees.

Tribe 9, which owns gluten-free pasta brand Taste Republic, said that through the deal it “plans to build the strongest producer of value-added pastas in the foodservice sector”.

It plans to continue operating Carla's manufacturing facilities in Windsor.

Brian Durst, Tribe 9's chairman and CEO, said: "Carla's has such a storied history, providing the most delicious traditional pasta for the restaurant industry.

"At the same time, our Taste Republic brand is rapidly building a leading presence across food-industry channels with the most delicious gluten-free, grain-free and vegan pasta offerings.

"Combined with Carla's leadership in delicious, value-added traditional pasta, we will be thrilled to provide a complete range of solutions for our customers, including foodservice, industrial, retail, private label and contract manufacturing."

Sandro Squatrito, vice president of business development at Carla's Pasta, said: "The pandemic hit us incredibly hard - there's no doubt about that.

"While it hurt us to file for bankruptcy, we're grateful that a value-driven organisation such as Tribe 9 will be at the helm going forward. This means people keep their jobs and Carla's legacy lives on."