Florida Food Products

All-natural vegetable based ingredients creating innovative clean-label solutions for food products

Founded in 1954 by the Brown family, Florida Food Products has provided healthy, natural and on-trend ingredients for over 60 years. Florida Food Products uses fruits and vegetables to create innovative clean-label solutions for the food, beverage and pet nutrition industries. From raw material to finished ingredient, Florida Food Products ensures that its products represent the highest quality and safest ingredients possible for its customers.

The Value Creation Opportunity

Our investment thesis was simple – Florida Food Products’ key ingredient that is made from fermented celery powder and used as a natural curing agent was critical to packaged meat companies looking to replace sodium nitrate so they can market their products as natural and capitalize on the double digit growth rate in this segment. As consumers continued to demand clean label formulations from food companies, Florida Food Products was well positioned to experience significant growth with the right investments in people and infrastructure.

Kainos’ deep experience and prior investments in functional ingredients, as well as track record of working with family owned businesses, was a key determinant when the Brown family decided to partner with us. The Kainos team was able to quickly demonstrate to Jerry and Tom Brown that we would continue their legacy of providing innovative clean label ingredients and delivering on-trend solutions for their customers while transitioning the business to third party management so the Browns could enjoy retirement. Thus, we partnered with Florida Food Products in October 2016.

Change Capital At Work

Working with the Browns, we recruited and hired a new CEO, Jim Holdrieth, to help transition the day-to-day leadership from the founders. We also added other senior level executives in positions to enable the business to scale, including a Chief Financial Officer, a Director of Supply Chain, and a Vice President of Business Development to augment R&D and technical sales capabilities.

We also leveraged Kainos’ extensive industry relationships to make introductions to customers looking to offer clean label meat products.

We saw significant opportunities for growth but needed to make sure we had the right infrastructure in place to support this growth, including diversifying our raw material supply chain and increasing both capacity and efficiencies in our manufacturing process. Through working hand-in-hand with Jim and the operational leaders, we increased capacity by 35% through people and process changes in the first 100 days of our investment. We also worked with the Director of Supply Chain to optimize celery supply by procuring long-term contracts with global suppliers that lowered our raw material costs. Finally, we invested over $26 million to upgrade the manufacturing facility and expand production capacity to create a scalable manufacturing platform that was significantly more efficient.

The Kainos Effect

In 2018, two years into our partnership, Florida Food Products was sold after more than doubling its profitability.