Toosum Healthy Foods announced last week its acquisition of KUTOA, a non-GMO, vegan nutrition bar company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“After building KUTOA for six years, we are very excited to welcome the next chapter,” KUTOA CEO and founder Joey Grassia said in a statement. “Toosum shares many of the core values that have guided KUTOA; with their resources and our combined synergies, I am confident that they are the best partner to continue our mission and grow the brand. I began KUTOA in memory of my mom and as a way to make positive impact in the world. My only hope is that the brand will continue to make a positive impact. That’s all that matters to me.”
Toosum founder Peter Guyer told NOSH that Grassia will remain “very involved” with the business and will have minority ownership. Currently Grassia is focused on helping the two brands come together and continuing to build customer relationships with new and existing retailers.
For now, everything is “business as usual,” Guyer said. KUTOA will keep its Austin, Texas, headquarters and three-person staff, but in the future, the arrangement is subject to change.
“Obviously it may not make sense to have two different production facilities and two different warehouses,” Guyer said. “We’re in the process of reviewing those businesses and our costs to see if there is any efficiencies that we can gain.”
Guyer told NOSH that he believes the acquisition will help both companies gain access to more sales channels, lower the cost of goods and increase profits.
Toosum, based in Seattle, Washington, launched in 2014 with a line of gluten-free, 100-calorie oatmeal bars. The brand also launched a high-protein cookie line during this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, Illinois. Toosum is currently sold in several hundred locations, including Raley’s stores throughout California and Nevada, independent retailers nationwide, and e-commerce retailers like Amazon.com and Costco.com.
Founded in 2011, KUTOA is sold in over 1,000 stores including Whole Foods Market and The Vitamin Shoppe.
Beyond KUTOA’s sales footprint, Guyer said he was drawn to the brand’s sustainable positioning, and mission-driven focus. A Certified B Corporation, for every bar sold, KUTOA donates micronutrient packs, a KUTOA bar or squares, Plumpy Nut Packs or a healthy sandwich to a child in need, both domestically and internationally.
The acquisition, Guyer said, is expected to “be the start of a great partnership,” allowing for a more organic consumer crossover between the brands. He noted that both companies will continue to pursue other types of healthy, all natural, non-GMO, gluten-free snack foods, and he’s excited that KUTOA will give the company another brand and platform upon which to develop new products. Guyer told NOSH that while there are “great synergies” between the brands due to their low calorie, low sugar, gluten free attributes, KUTOA will be focused on products with more indulgent taste profiles.
Guyer added that though the company always looks internally first when trying to innovate new products, he’s not ruling out another acquisition to help expand the company’s portfolio.
“We’re always looking to forge partnerships with brands that would be a good fit and add synergies and efficiencies, but before doing so we want to make sure both Toosum and KUTOA brands are strong and growing,” he said.