Kent Precision Foods acquires Sqwincher hydration line with unique 'professional' distribution footprint
There are only so many ways to skin a cat, the old saw goes, and that seems to apply to the hydration beverage space, too. The beverages all offer a mix of electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat, and are often sweetened with a blend of sugars to speed the transport of water in the intestines as well as to provide energy for sports performance. Sqwincher, which has been on the market for a number of years, sought to stand out by formulating its beverages with significantly greater potassium.
The company also has a unique distribution model. Rather than trying to compete with the Gatorades of the world in the mass market, Sqwincher sought to market its products to ‘professional’ users, such as electrical utility or construction companies whose workers who are often laboring outside on hot days and need adequate hydration to maintain energy, mental focus and to avoid heat exhaustion. The company also markets direct to consumers.
Sqwincher was founded in 1975 with the first high potassium, lower sodium drinks. But the company’s first breakthrough came in the decision to target a different audience, and to become as the company says “a heat stress safety product for the industrial market.” The company exhibits at a number of trade shows that cater to industrial markets and outdoor enthusiasts.
Kent made the acquisition, whose terms were not disclosed, through its Kent Precision Foods division which concentrates on dry powder mixes. The new piece of the pie fits in well with the division’s existing product lines, said company spokeswoman Janet Sichterman.
Product line adds powder synergies
“Kent Precision Foods already has dry mix products targeting a number of channels,” Sichterman told FoodNavigator-USA. “One of the areas we are strengthening is personal nutrition.
“We have a product line targeting people with swallowing disorder and we do already have some hydration solutions. We are excited to add Sqwincher’s line of products as well as their distribution channels,” she said. Sichterman said there will be significant synergies in the manufacture of the products, as Kent already has significant experience in powders.
Sichterman said Kent saw Sqwincher as a good fit because of the brand’s “focus on science.”
“They are a family-owned company and Kent is a family-owned company. Kent started 40 years ago as a feed company bringing a science basis to animal nutrition. They were focused on the science of nutrition which is why we saw them as a good fit,” Sichterman said.
Kent, which has corporate headquarters in Muscatine, IA, has three division besides the Precision Foods division that focus on livestock and pet nutrition and a grain milling division that supplies ingredients to food manufacturers. The company has manufacturing facilities in several locations in the Midwest.