- Kerry Group expanded its clean label food protection capabilities through the acquisition of two companies, Georgia-based IsoAge Technologies and Biosecur Lab, located in Quebec, Food Ingredients First reported. The purchases were completed at the end of 2019, but announced in late April. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- In outlining the benefits of the deals, the supplier of flavors and ingredients said the coronavirus outbreak put pressure on manufacturers to safely supply food as consumers stockpile at home. Even before the pandemic, Food Ingredients First said Kerry noted that shoppers were already changing their behaviors and attitudes by watching what goes into their body, reading product labels and avoiding artificial ingredients.
- IsoAge Technologies is a supplier of healthy, clean-label, muntifunctional ingredients while Biosecur Lab provides natural antimicrobials made from citrus extracts.
While the announcements came with little fanfare, they are reflective of more impactful trends sweeping the food industry and what consumers are looking for in many of the food and beverages they consume. The deal was touted by Kerry as further strengthening the Irish company's foothold in clean label and natural foods that are increasingly in demand by consumers.
Beneo, an ingredient supplier, found in 2018 that using natural ingredients and having clean labels surpasses brand recognition and product descriptions as the most important consideration for consumers when purchasing a food product.
For Kerry, bulking up on its clean label offerings give it a wider breath of choices for food and beverage manufacturers to choose from depending on the type of product they are working on, how the item reacts to certain ingredients that are combined together or the type of change they are making to improve the label. In addition, if an ingredients company like Kerry has a deeper tool chest from which its customers can choose from, then that increases the likelihood that businesses will turn to them as a one-stop shop.
In the Food Ingredients First article, Cracknell offered some insight in terms of how the company will benefit from its new acquisitions. He said IsoAge Technologies’ natural and sustainable food safety solutions, combined with Biosecur Lab’s natural citrus extract-based antimicrobials and Kerry’s existing food protection solutions, will allow the company "to protect even more food naturally."
Kerry underscored not only changing consumer trends, but also the impact of the coronavirus on what people look for in the foods. The company said the virus has prompted consumers to focus even more of their attention on what they put in their bodies. This has prompted shoppers to pay more attention to product labels and avoid artificial ingredients. In addition, growing interest in "no contact delivery" boosts demand for more information to be shared publicly about how products are kept natural and artisanal, Food Ingredients First noted.
The ingredients space has been a hotbed of M&A activity recently. Kerry in February announced it had acquired Pevesa Biotech, a Spanish company specializing in non-allergenic and organic plant protein ingredients for infant, general and clinical nutrition. Kerry said the transaction will expand its position in the hydrolyzed plant protein space and enhance its ability to service the fast-growing organic plant protein market
Last December, DuPont announced it will merge its nutrition business with International Flavors & Fragrances in a deal the companies valued at $26.2 billion. In 2018, IFF acquired Frutarom Industries for $7.1 billion, increasing its reach into natural colors, enzymes, antioxidants and health ingredients, while giving it access to smaller and mid-sized customers.
As food trends shift and change, flavor and ingredients companies are moving aggressively to position themselves to better respond to them. While innovation will be a key component of this, M&A activity of all sizes will also remain a popular avenue for growth.