Hershey Enters Meat Snacks Category Through Acquisition

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Co. will acquire KRAVE Pure Foods Inc., manufacturer of KRAVE jerky, an all-natural snack brand of premium jerky products. This will allow Hershey to tap into the rapidly growing meat snacks segment and further expand into the broader snacks space, the company said.

"KRAVE jerky is a great fit to our portfolio and overall snacks and adjacencies strategy," said Michele Buck, president, North America, The Hershey Co. "The KRAVE brand delivers on portable and protein nutrition while also understanding consumers' food preferences, including the desire for simple ingredients and transparency, something that is also a part of Hershey's strategic vision. We are excited to add KRAVE jerky's unique, chef-inspired products and be a part of this transformational category."

Founded in 2009, KRAVE is now a leader in premium jerky, the fastest-growing subsegment of the estimated $2.5-billion U.S. meat snacks category, according to the announcement. The brand's unique flavors include Black Cherry Barbeque Pork Jerky, Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky and Chili Lime Beef Jerky. KRAVE jerky products contain no gluten or high fructose corn syrup, and have no added nitrites or MSG.

In the last 12 months, KRAVE Pure Foods generated approximately $35 million in sales and was named to Forbes' 2015 America's Most Promising Companies list.

"An important focus of KRAVE jerky's business strategy is to push the boundaries within our category and to stay on top of ever-changing consumer needs. Joining the Hershey family will extend our resources for innovation and expand KRAVE jerky's presence in the larger healthy snacking category," said KRAVE CEO and founder Jonathan Sebastiani. "Our partnership with Hershey is a testament to our team's dedication to creating something unexpected and striving to be a cut above the rest. We are confident in our future and look forward to further success with Hershey."

Following the acquisition, KRAVE's headquarters will remain in Sonoma, Calif. Hershey will operate KRAVE as a standalone business within its Hershey North America division. Sebastiani will continue to lead the business as president of KRAVE and report to Buck.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds