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September 7, 2020

Verus International buys Eliot’s Nut Butters in all-US deal

US consumer packaged goods business Verus International has acquired a local nut butter firm for an undisclosed sum.

By Leonie Barrie

US consumer packaged goods business Verus International has acquired fellow American firm Eliot’s Nut Butters for an undisclosed sum.

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Verus – also known as Verus Foods – described Portland, Oregon-based Eliot’s as an ” award-winning, small-batch, flavoured nut butter company”.

Eliot’s offers six products, consisting of four peanut butters – Spicy Thai, Honey Chipotle, Classic Salted, and Espresso Nib –as well as an Oregon Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, and an Everything Bagel Nut Butter.

Founded in 2013, the company’s products are primarily sold in Whole Foods Market, Kroger, natural and speciality grocery stores, and online via Amazon and Eliot’s company website. 

Verus reported Eliot’s is on track to generate approximately US$400,000 in revenue during calendar year 2020. The company is seeking to expand its distribution footprint and introduce new products to reach additional retail venues.

Verus CEO Anshu Bhatnagar said: “This is a small, strategic acquisition where we are gaining an established product line, new customers, and expertise in online sales.

“Eliot’s is an outstanding, highly-rated brand that can benefit from our growing distribution network, so we see the potential for some organic sales acceleration simply through wider distribution. 

“We expect to tap into Eliot’s expertise in online sales, but we are also very excited about new products in development that we expect to open a greater number of retail doors. This acquisition provides us an entry point into some speciality and healthier food categories where we would like to expand in the future.”

Bhatnagar said Verus’s goal is to have a “collection of high-growth food lines that will create natural cross-selling opportunities as our retailer footprint expands”.

The company distributes products sourced in the US from local manufacturers including candy, ice cream, meat and poultry, vegetables, French fries, condiments and ingredients.

In December, it made a move into manufacturing with the launch of a candy plant in Houston, Texas. The 10,000 sq ft facility will operate as a subsidiary under the name Success Labs.

In April last year, Verus acquired Big League Foods which holds licence deals with Major League Baseball to produce team-branded ice cream and confectionery products.

Verus also has business outside the US. The company says it has “a significant regional presence” in the Middle East, north Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

The company’s corporate history dates back to 1994, when it was incorporated in Delaware as Spectrum Gaming Ventures, Inc. In 2007, Spectrum subsidiary Webdigs was merged into the business, which was renamed Webdigs, Inc.

Five years later, Webdigs acquired Attaché Travel International and was renamed RealBiz Media Group, a subsidiary of the new asset.

RealBiz, which operated in two industries – food products through Verus Foods – and real estate. In 2018, the company spun off its real estate assets and became Verus International.

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