Epic

General Mills Inc. (NYSEL GIS) has purchased meat snacks producer Epic Provisions, in a move that will expand the Annie’s division.

Epic, founded in 2013 and based in Austin, Texas, makes protein bars and other snacks with meat ingredients that come in flavors such as Bison Bacon Cranberry, Beef Habanero Cherry, Pulled Pork Pineapple and Chicken Sesame Barbecue. The target will become part of organic food maker Annie’s, which General Mills acquired in 2014.

"The acquisition of Epic positions General Mills for exciting growth with a highly authentic brand in an entirely new natural snacking category," said John Foraker, president of Annie's. “A purpose-driven brand like EPIC perfectly aligns with the experience and capabilities set that Annie's brings to the table. Epic has tremendous potential for growth in the natural snacking category.”

Founded in 1989 by Annie Withey, Annie's was bought by Solera Capital in 2002 and went public in 2012. Annie's has grown extensively during the time and now sells its products in more than 35,000 stores. Solera was founded by Molly Ashby.

General Mills has been restructuring its product lines through M&A lately. In 2015, the company bought yogurt maker Carolina Administracao e Participacoes Societarias Ltda and also announced plans to sell the Green Giant and Le Sueur vegetable businesses to B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS). General Mills, located in Minneapolis, owns the Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms and Wheaties cereal brands.

Strategic buyers have been active with acquisitions in the food sector recently. Glanbia plc (LON: GLB) is acquiring protein bar maker ThinkThin; Hain Celestial Group Inc. (Nasdaq: HAIN) is buying fruit company Orchard House Foods Ltd.; and Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF) is purchasing Smart Balance owner Boulder Brands (Nasdaq: BDBD).

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