RIND Snacks complements core business with Small Batch Organics acquisition

By Ryan Daily

- Last updated on GMT

Image Credit: RIND Snacks
Image Credit: RIND Snacks

Related tags RIND Snacks acquisition Mergers and acquisitions M&A

Fruit snack brand RIND acquired Vermont-based granola manufacturer Small Batch Organics for an undisclosed sum as part of an initiative to shore up its supply chain and expand into the private label business, Matt Weiss, co-founder and CEO, told FoodNavigator-USA.

“The brands and businesses we admired the most [had] a common denominator. [They] happened to be strategic manufacturing, where they owned their destiny — they owned control of the most important pieces of their supply-chain puzzle. And that's clearly proven to be a big advantage at a time when there's disruption in [the supply chain and] when you're reliant on third parties for fulfillment of raw materials.”

“A foundation where we do not need to raise outside capital”

Launched in 2018, RIND offers​ a range of better-for-you, sustainable fruit snacks across its chips, crisps, and mix products. Last year, the company explored different ways to increase control over its supply chain and found acquiring a manufacturer made more sense than building a facility, Weiss explained.  

“This gives us that opportunity to credibly build a foundation where we do not need to raise outside capital, as frequently as we have in the past. We can really control much more of the moving parts of the business and have a longer-term mindset,” he said.

Last Spring, RIND met with Small Batch’s founder, Lindsay Martin, and found that the two companies could benefit from the acquisition, said Ben Cohn, co-founder and president of RIND. Small Batch’s manufacturing capabilities include granola bark, clusters, and cereals, and the company primarily serves the private-label channel.  

With the acquisition​, Martin joined the company as its VP of manufacturing and product development, and is working with Nick Bilotti, RIND’s VP of operations, to integrate the manufacturing process, including digitizing some of Small Batch’s processes, Cohn explained. 

“She really was looking for something that we had, which was she loved the manufacturing side of it — the innovation side of it — but was looking for some help on the administrative and the sales and marketing side, which is what we really excel at,” Cohn said. “We were able to come up with a deal that we thought would be a great fit for them and a great fit for us and really was a great example of one plus one equals three.” 

Complementing RIND’s core business with private-label 

RIND is also expanding into private-label manufacturing with the acquisition, Cohn said. While acknowledging the RIND brand will be “the North Star for [its] business,” he said, “there are going to be opportunities to bring in private label that is really complimentary.”

“Private label can be something that is very partnership-oriented, where you can co-develop products with retailers who are looking to do something private label to support a category, but they want to do it with a manufacturer or a company that can work with them to innovate and really make it exciting,” Cohn said. 

Picking up on what Cohn said, Weiss also sees an opportunity to leverage Martin’s expertise in product innovation to launch new products. 

RIND Cherry Cashew Crunch — which includes upcycled cherries, spiced cashews, and vanilla granola clusters — is the first collaborative product from RIND and the Small Batch team. It launches in Sam’s Clubs this month, and Walmart, Wegman’s, Hudson News, Amazon, Misfits Markets, and Thrive Markets later this spring. Additionally, Small Batch’s named products will be rebranded as RIND products over the next year. 

“We get to merge the two, ... where we'll still have a very fruit-forward bias to any value-add branded products that we will collaborate on, ... but there will also be times where a bulk granola product, which we can be advantaged as a low-cost producer and an efficient producer, that may not serve us our brand, but it might be a great fit for a hospitality chain,” Weiss said.

'Still focused on the Whole Foods of the world,' but sees opportunity in travel and club

RIND will use the new manufacturing capabilities to grow its retail distribution, which includes channels like travel with Hudson News and club-membership retailers like Sam's and Costco.

“We are looking to build our distribution network very strategically, but also to do it across a lot of different channels, and we are absolutely still focused on the Whole Foods of the world. They're a key partner of ours, and we're excited about the growth there. We've really found the travel channel to be a great one for us. What we love about it is it's a great way to sort of bring in new consumers through actual trial.”

Club-membership retailers are also becoming an increasingly important channel, as budget-conscious consumers buy products that are lower in cost per ounce through bulk items, Cohn said.

“[Club is] a really powerful channel. ... Club has seen great market share gains over the past five or 10 years. We think that continues. Consumers are smart. They want value, and they see that buying in bulk can be a way to find delicious snacks but for a little bit less,” Cohn said. 

While RIND is growing its retail distribution, it’s also wants more shelf space in stores where it already have a presence, like Walmart, which “is another key partner” for the brand, Weiss noted.

“We're in about 12,000 retail stores and points of distribution. And for us, it's even less about the headline number of more doors. It's more about doing more within the doors. We have excellent distribution, and now with additional capabilities, we think we can really own more of key grocery sets and categories and bring a lot of innovation,” Weiss said.           

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