- Kellogg's U.S. natural foods arm Kashi Company has acquired Pure Organic, maker of The Pure Bar line of organic vegan snack bars. Terms of the deal were not made available.
- Founder Veronica Lehman created the brand in response to her then 6-year-old daughter's decision to become a vegetarian. The products are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and kosher, with an ingredients list composed of fruit, nuts, and ancient grains.
- Lehman said in a statement that she believes the products resonate with today's consumers, which attracted Kashi, and that the brand will benefit from Kashi's resources, relationships, and distribution network.
Lehman said she would maintain a similar role in the company post-acquisition as the founder and voice of the brand, including working with retailers and overseeing R&D of new products. Kashi understands this all too well.
Kashi thrived in the first years following its acquisition by Kellogg in 2000, growing sales about 42% annually on a compound basis to about $600 million during the first eight years. However, in 2008, Kellogg began imparting its own processes on the once-autonomous brand, including using GMO and non-organic ingredients. This made it difficult for Kashi to retain the trust of loyal customers and to remain innovative as competition from other natural and organic brands grew exponentially.
Kellogg has since said it would turn things around for Kashi, which saw sales decline 35% from 2010 to 2014 while competitors snagged a portion of the brand's market share. That has included relocating Kashi back to its original California roots and rehiring Kashi employees who had left in the interim. Kashi also last month announced its involvement in the Certified Transitional program, which supports farmers who are transitioning from conventional to organic farming.
The Pure Organic acquisition is the next step in Kashi's transformation. Kashi has continued releasing new products, such as Golean cereals and plant-based powders, which debuted this week. Pure Organic will add to the company's snack portfolio, which also includes Bear Naked and Stretch Island Fruit Snack brands. This is a crucial strategy to balance out the waning sales cereals have seen almost across the board.