Hilo Nutrition, a US business focusing on health and wellness, has been acquired by local private-equity firm Highlander Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The Ohio-based company, known for using confectionery products, such as its performance gummies, as an alternative to powder supplements for sports nutrition, was co-founded in 2018 by Andrew Sauer and Eric Torgeson, who will remain in the same leadership positions with Hilo under Highlander’s ownership.

Dallas-based Highlander’s portfolio includes US pork rinds and tortilla chips business Benestar Brands and Bettera Brands, a supplier of branded and private-label gummy vitamins in the same market.

Highlander said it plans to accelerate the growth of Hilo by targeting a larger but more focused audience, continued innovation of its product offerings, strengthening its direct-to consumer (DTC) business, and aggressively expanding distribution.

Andrew Sauer, president of Hilo, said of its new owner “Their strong operating experience in retail, digital, and manufacturing is unparalleled and will undoubtedly accelerate Hilo to the next level. Our ability to invest in all areas of growth will now be super-charged by our combination of talents.”

Jeff Hull, president and CEO of Highlander Partners, said: “We believe the company [Hilo] has significant growth opportunities, which will be amplified by increased consumer awareness, product innovation, and expanded distribution.  

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“This acquisition underscores Highlander’s desire to invest in high quality branded companies.”

Highlander’s portfolio outside the US includes Romania-based snacks and cereal supplier SanoVita and Polish meat processor QFG Spólka