Freeze-Dry acquired by Thrive Foods, which looks to expand and invest in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 September 2022 at 4:37 pm

60 people currently work out of site on West Avenue

Photo by Tom Rivers: Freeze-Dry Foods is based at 111 West Ave. in Albion, the former Lipton’s plant.

ALBION – Freeze-Dry Foods, which has operated at 111 West Ave. for more than 20 years, has announced that it has been acquired by Thrive Foods, and the new owner will invest in the Albion facility and looks to expand the workforce which is currently at 60.

Freeze-Dry Foods specializes in freeze-dried products, including pet treats, proteins and ingredients. It was honored in 2016 as the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year.

Provided photos: Aimee Galindo, current CEO of Freeze-Dry Foods, and Steve Palmer, CEO of Thrive Foods, celebrate the merger.

The products have a shelf life of up to 25 years because Freeze-Dry eliminates moisture and oxygen, while preserving nutrients, flavor, taste, color and aroma.

It operates out of a 240,000-square-foot facility, which previously was used by Lipton’s and then Ontario Foods.

Freeze-Dry is one of the few freeze dry companies in the United States. (The technique dehydrates frozen foods so the moisture content changes directly from a solid to a gaseous form. The product maintains its original size and shape with a minimum of cell rupture. Removing moisture prevents a product from deteriorating at room temperature.)

Thrive Foods also manufactures freeze-dried products, including fruits and vegetables, proteins, pet treats, probiotics, enzymes and prepared meals. Thrive currently has facilities in Modesto, California and American Fork, Utah. It serves as a technical expert and flexible manufacturing partner for its customers.

“We are very pleased with the acquisition of Freeze-Dry Foods, which will further expand Thrive’s manufacturing capabilities and add to our existing geographic footprint throughout the United States,” said Steve Palmer, CEO at Thrive Foods. “We are impressed with FDF’s focus on high-quality products and look forward to executing upon several key initiatives and opportunities together to fuel further growth.”

The acquisition of Freeze-Dry Foods was announced by Entrepreneurial Equity Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the food and consumer packaged goods industries, and the Private Equity business of Mubadala Capital, the asset management arm of Abu Dhabi-based sovereign investor Mubadala Investment Company. Thrive Foods is one of their portfolio companies. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Steve Palmer, CEO of Thrive Foods, met with the Albion workforce on Aug. 26. He told the staff there would be more jobs, and investment in the Albion facility.

Freeze-Dry was founded in 1968. Thrive Foods said Freeze-Dry has established an exceptional reputation for high-quality products. The acquisition will allow Thrive Foods to better service customers across the Midwest and East Coast by adding specialized formulation and wet processing capabilities to Thrive’s world-class freeze-drying operations.

“This strategic acquisition adds valuable customer relationships and production, and we look forward to growing the combined business,” said Ryan Schweet, partner at Entrepreneurial Equity Partners.

Adnan Azam, director at Mubadala Capital, added: “We invested in Thrive as the foundation of a growing platform to build and consolidate the freeze-dried products space. Since we invested in the business, we have been integrating Thrive with Mercer Foods while continuously evaluating new opportunities to expand our product capabilities, enter new markets and create growth opportunities for our employees. FDF achieves each of those objectives and we look forward to continuing its market leadership as part of the Thrive Foods family.”

The Albion workforce gathers for a group photo with Steve Palmer, CEO of Thrive Foods.