What We’re Seeing

Market Update

The food & beverage M&A market remains active through August with several notable transactions. Tyson Foods agreed to acquire Keystone Foods, a distributor of chicken, beef, and fish products for $2.1 billion. United Natural Foods (UNFI) agreed to acquire food distributor and grocery retailer Supervalu for $2.9 billion. C.H. Guenther & Son acquired Cookietree Bakeries, a Utah-based manufacturer of branded and private-label food products for leading quick-service restaurants and retailers.

What We’ve Been Reading

Consumer Demand For Fresh Illuminates Growing Opportunity For Grocers

Fresh snacking has been the recent catalyst behind growth in grocery stores’ snacking categories. According to SPINS, the $40 billion dollar conventional snacking marketing declined 2 percent annually over the past three years, while the health-and-wellness snacking market grew 6 percent annually driven by an 8 percent growth in the fresh snacking market. Despite the rise in e-commerce, studies have proven consumers still shop brick-and-mortar for fresh products. With more consumers seeking fresh products, it is clear that shelf stable products will continue to yield space to fresh products in the perimeter of the store.

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Plant-Based Product Sales Rise By An Incredible 20 Percent

According to Nielsen’s study, plant-based product sales grew by 20 percent in the 52 weeks ending June 16, 2018, reaching a total of $3.3 billion. Over the same period, total food sales grew just 2 percent, proving that plant-based products are no longer just a niche market. According to Jaime Athos, CEO of Tofurky, the continued growth in plant-based products is attributed to readily accessible information about the health, environmental, and moral downfalls of eating meat coupled with the existence of high-quality alternatives.

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Will High Trucking Costs Eventually Run Over Food Companies' Ability To Grow?

According to The Wall Street Journal, a trucking shortage in the United States has caused freight prices to soar upwards of 20%. One of the primary drivers of rising freight prices is the continued growth in e-commerce grocery orders, which has shifted the entire industry by demanding that manufacturers get products to customers on short schedules and in the same condition as if everything was hand selected at the store. Many large manufacturers, including Tyson and Kellogg, said higher transportation costs weighed on earnings in the most recent quarter.

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Vital Signs



Public Equity Market Overview

Key Trading Statistics4


Public Company Sector Performance (Median One Year Change In Stock Price)4


Recent Equity Offerings5


Food And Beverage Industry Stock Performance Index4


M&A Market Overview

Highlighted Food And Beverage M&A Transactions4

Tyson Foods To Acquire Keystone Foods


  • Tyson Foods has agreed to acquire Keystone Foods for $2.1bn.
  • Based in West Chester, PA, Keystone Foods processes and distributes chicken, beef, fish, and is a major supplier of chicken nuggets to McDonald’s Corporation.
  • The acquisition will strengthen Tyson Foods Inc's global presence and expand its food service capabilities.


C.H. Guenther & Son Acquires Cookietree Bakeries


  • C.H. Guenther & Son has acquired Cookietree Bakeries.
  • Based in Salt Lake City, UT, Cookietree Bakeries produces and supplies cookies and cookie dough primarily to the foodservice industry.
  • The transaction will strengthen CH Guenther & Son’s private-label capabilities.


United Natural Foods To Acquire SUPERVALU


  • United Natural Foods (UNFI) has agreed to acquire Supervalu for $2.9bn.
  • Based in Eden Prairie, MN, Supervalu distributes and sells food and nonfood items and operates retail grocery stores.
  • The acquisition will help UNFI reduce its dependence on Whole Foods, which accounts for about 1/3 of UNFI’s business.


Food And Beverage M&A Trends4


Latest Deals And Announced Private Equity Activity4

Last 10 Deals Announced


Private Equity Investments & Exits


* M&A transactions include European and cross-border deals since 2015.

Debt Market Overview

Food And Beverage Loan Activity6


Recent Debt Offerings7


M&A Overview*

Median LTM Trading Multiples & Quarterly Food & Beverage M&A4


Recent Food and Beverage M&A4



* M&A transactions include European and cross-border deals since 2015.

Food and Beverage Earnings Release Calendar

Earnings Release Calendar4


Public Comparables4






1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Unweighted Average

3. US Census Bureau

4. Factset

5. Thomson Financial

6. S&P

7. Reuters


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