The brand will join the Kraft Heinz Springboard, a platform introduced earlier this year aimed at partnering with disruptive food and beverage brands.
The acquisition will help Kraft Heinz inch closer to its vision of becoming “the best food company, growing a better world,” said Paulo Basilio, US Zone President for Kraft Heinz.
“Primal Kitchen is an authentic, premium and growing brand that fits perfectly with our core condiments & sauces categories, and we are excited to partner with the company’s strong existing team to drive growth across multiple categories going forward.”
Launched in 2015, Primal Kitchen generated more than $13m in revenue in 2016 and is expected to reach $50m in net sales for 2018 from online and brick & mortar retail in the natural, conventional, and club channels.
While Primal Kitchen has already made considerable progress under its own steam, acknowledged Primal Kitchen co-founder Mark Sisson, working with Kraft Heinz will help the brand get where it wants to go much faster while continuing to operate autonomously, keeping its leadership team and operating out of its production facility in Oxnard, California.
"The team is looking at basically continuing to do what we have been doing, which is making what we think are the world’s best products. But now we'll be tapping into the added potential distribution, knowledge base, scale opportunities that Kraft Heinz has to offer," Sisson told FoodNavigator-USA.
Primal Kitchen has already covered most bases in terms of distribution reach, playing in the e-commerce, natural, conventional, and club channels, said co-founder Morgan Buehler, who added that it's more a matter of adding more of its SKUs to current retail locations.
"I think it’s more just gaining distribution for the full portfolio vs. just the mayonnaise or just the salad dressing," Buehler said.
Primal Kitchen’s portfolio of products – all free from dairy, gluten, grains, and soy – includes salad dressings, marinades, sauces, an egg-free mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and avocado oils.
The company also offers collagen-based nutrition bars and protein powder supplements.
About the founder
Sisson, an endurance athlete and author of best-selling books The Primal BluePrint and Primal Endurance, started Primal Kitchen after becoming fed up with how little progress shelf-stable categories – condiments, salad dressings, sauces, and snack bars – had made in terms of clean label products.
The brand’s ketchup, for example, is free from sweeteners and uses balsamic vinegar in place of acid vinegar.
'It's not about catering to a specific style of eating'
A look at Primal Kitchen's products may seem like a lesson in today's hottest diets -- consumers can find Whole30, paleo, and keto-friendly products -- but according to Sisson, the underlying theme to its portfolio is about creating healthy alternatives to items that historically have been used very sparingly (e.g. mayonnaise, salad dressing) and create excitement for 'dressing up' food in a healthier way.
"It’s not been about catering to a specific style of eating, it’s been about addressing a concern that knowledgeable consumers have had for years now, which is looking for a clean label," Sisson explained.
"We wanted to change that whole concept of condiments, dressings, and sauces, and create products that the consumer would read the label and not be afraid to use more than a quarter of a teaspoon."
Fats are on a spectrum
Primal Kitchen's emphasis on healthy fats has been at the core of many of its product formulations, and the consumer has caught up with the idea of 'healthy fats', according to Sisson.
"The concept of the healthy fat, has really entered the lexicon in the last five or ten years," he said. "Fats are clearly on a spectrum and some of them are clearly proven to be bad for you."
But on the other end of the spectrum are fats such as Omega-3s which have become accepted by the general health community as 'healthy', added Sisson, which is why Primal Kitchen incorporates avocado oil into many of its products.
"Avocado oil is objectively one of the best choices that a consumer can make right now," Sisson said.
"A lot of what we created allows the consumer to use it literally to their heart’s content."