Flowers Foods, the US bakery heavyweight behind brands such as Dave’s Killer Bread and Wonder, has invested in local better-for-you baker Base Culture.

Florida-based Base Culture said the deal will allow it to grow distribution, scale marketing and bolster its manufacturing.

Neither the amount Flowers paid nor the size of the stake it has taken have been disclosed. It joins an existing investor group led by Emil Capital Partners.

Base Culture was founded by its CEO Jordann Windschauer after she struggled to find all-natural snacks that aligned with a Paleo lifestyle. In 2012, she started making her own products at home and, five years later, opened Base Culture’s own manufacturing facility in Clearwater, Florida.

The company’s products are available in nearly 15,000 retail locations nationwide – including branches of Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, Publix, and Albertsons/Safeway – as well as online.

Base Culture’s product range – including sliced bread and brownies – is Paleo-certified, gluten-free, grain-free, kosher-certified, dairy-free, soy-free and Non-GMO verified. Some items are also Keto-certified.

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Windschauer told Just Food Base Culture had been talking to Flowers for around nine months before the deal was struck. “I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” she said.

Windschauer confirmed she was still in charge of the business. “Flowers was adamant about Base Culture having its own identity,” she said.

She said that the business had been boosted by health concerns that moved front and centre during the height of the Covid pandemic.

“One thing that came out of Covid is that people are paying attention to what they are feeding their bodies,” she said. “During Covid, there were a lot more eyes on these kinds of products.”

And she is not overly concerned about consumers facing a cost-of-living crisis moving away from such premium, niche products.

“It is tough but consumers buying our products really appreciate better-for-you,” she said.

Ryals McMullian, Flowers Foods president and CEO, said: “The world of food is constantly evolving and seeing entrepreneurs like Jordann create a vibrant brand that resonates with health-conscious consumers is truly inspiring. We look forward to supporting Base Culture as it continues to grow.”

In February, when announcing its annual results, McMullian said one of its four strategic priorities was “smart” M&A.

“We aim to strengthen our existing business with M&A to bolster our already strong brand line-up and growth profile,” he said.