The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) is buying jerky-maker Krave Pure Foods Inc. as part of a plan to expand its product portfolio beyond candy.

Sonoma, California-based Krave makes all-natural jerky snacks with flavors, including Black Cherry Barbeque Pork Jerky, Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky and Chili Lime Beer Jerky. The products are gluten-, high-fructose corn syrup- and MSG- free. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Hershey says the meat snacks category is growing at a double-digit pace with a compounded annual growth rate of about 10 percent between 2010 and 2014. The premium, better-for-you subset of that category, where Krave fits in, is growing even faster, the company says.

Hershey, headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is known for confections, including sweets, mints and other snacks, including house-hold names, such as Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers.

Krave was backed by Alliance Consumer Growth, which bought a minority stake in the business in 2012. Alliance, headquartered in New York, also backed Plum Organics, which was acquired by Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB) in 2013. 

Deutsche Bank advised Krave on the deal.

Hershey isn't the only corporation looking to expand its better-for-you offerings through acquisitions. In September, General Mills (NYSE: GIS), which owns cereals including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Trix, bought Annie's Homegrown Foods, which makes organic macaroni and cheese and other snack products. 

For more on food trends, see 6 Notable Food Deals of 2014 and Snack Time

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