Nestlé has acquired a majority stake in Ecuador-based Terrafertil, which sells organic, plant-based foods and healthy snacks.
The move sees Nestlé widen its presence in a fast-growing category in Latin America, the US and UK.
Terrafertil, and its flagship brand Nature’s Heart, is the world’s largest buyer of goldenberries, an Andean fruit high in vitamins and antioxidants.
The company was founded in 2005 in Ecuador by five entrepreneurs and is managed by three founding brothers, David, Raul and Daniel Bermeo. It quickly expanded its presence in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and the UK.
In 2017, it entered the US with the purchase of Essential Living Foods. It employs 400 people and has four factories in Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.
The transaction includes all of Terrafertil’s operations and assets in the seven countries where it operates.
Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé Zone Americas, said: “We are excited to welcome Terrafertil and its employees to the Nestlé family. Its natural, organic and healthy products fully support Nestlé’s purpose to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.
“This investment allows us to strengthen our presence in fast-growing categories such as plant-based foods, beverages and healthy snacks, known as superfoods due to their high natural nutrient content.
“Terrafertil will continue to be managed by its founders. It will operate as a stand-alone entity, to leverage its unique corporate culture including entrepreneurial spirit, agility and flexibility.”
In a statement, the Bermeo brothers said: “Nestlé brings several benefits and synergies. Beyond expanding our presence and distribution around the world, we will capitalise on its experience in areas such as research and development, marketing knowledge, and operational efficiencies. Above all, we share Nestlé’s commitment to society, to the communities where it operates and the environment.”
The deal comes a month after activist investor Dan Loeb called on Nestlé to focus on health and wellness, with a shift towards categories such as coffee, water and nutrition, rather than products such as frozen pizza and ice cream.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018