Fort Worth company adds New York cookie manufacturer to portfolio

Parker Products courtesy photo via BusinessWire

Fort Worth-based Parker Products, a provider of inclusions and other specialty ingredients for the baking, dairy, beverage, confectionery, RTE and snack, and foodservice industries, on Aug. 25  announced that Perry, New York-based cookie manufacturer Creative Food Ingredients (CFI) has joined the Parker portfolio. The transaction was completed on August 25. No price for the transaction was released.

Parker/CFI logos

“Parker Products has been intriguing consumers with exciting new flavors, textures, and product characteristics for nearly a century,” said Greg Hodder, president of Parker. “The addition of CFI’s complementary line of baked inclusions and toppings, including the unique Cookie Gems™ and other rotary cookie bits, positions us as the ‘go-to’ source of premium ingredients for our customers.”

Parker Products was itself acquired by The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm, in late 2017, in a move designed to accelerate Parker’s growth and set the stage for expansion opportunities such as that offered by the addition of CFI.

“CFI represents an excellent fit with Parker,” Hodder said. “The combination of Parker’s excellence in batch processing and artisanal ingredients is a perfect fit with CFI’s expertise in higher-volume orders and enables us to address a broader range of customer needs than ever before. The two companies serve many of the same customers with highly complementary product lines, providing an opportunity for customers to source a wider range of high-quality inclusions and ingredients from a single supplier.”

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CFI’s chief executive, Michael O’Flaherty, will maintain an ongoing investment in the business but will transition away from day-to-day operations. Parker has tapped industry veteran Ron Savelli to act as President of CFI, working closely with CFI Operations Director Mike Humberstone to lead manufacturing and related operations in Perry, N.Y.

O’Flaherty said, “CFI has continued to invest in growth since my family purchased the company in 2005. Joining Parker presents compelling opportunities not only for our customers but also for our employees as we look to the future, and that potential was too good to pass up. I’m excited about this next chapter for CFI as part of Parker Products.”

Parker and CFI will co-brand in the marketplace, honoring both companies’ strong brand equity and complementary product offerings.

“There will be immense collaboration and synergies between Parker and CFI, which position the combined organization to emerge as a significant leader in its specialty ingredient manufacturing niche,” said Riverside Senior Advisor Richard Lan. “The two companies have been collaborating on projects together over the last two years, so the management teams have a strong cultural fit, and we’ve witnessed the synergistic effects in action.”

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“We’re thrilled about the sheer scale, additional product offerings and value CFI will add to the Parker platform,” said Riverside Partner Meranee Phing. “During our partnership, we plan to expand current R&D capabilities, broaden Parker’s blue-chip customer base and maximize cross-selling opportunities.”

As Riverside continues to look for additional investments to add to its growing platform, one of the ways it differentiates itself in the market is through its Flavor & Specialty Ingredient Advisory Board.

“The expertise and strategic vision of the advisory board members has created a unique edge in identifying strong synergistic investment candidates such as CFI, across the food and beverage supply chain,” said Riverside Director of Research Matthew Delly. “This is the third flavor and specialty ingredient-related investment made this year with the advisory board’s guidance.”

Working with Phing and Lan on the deal for Riverside were Partner Drew Flanigan, Vice President Harrison Petts and Senior Associate Tom Wyza. Director of Research Matthew Delly sourced the deal for Riverside. Ron Krassin, Rob Carraway, Scott Sands and Ron Savelli also assisted as part of the Riverside Operating Toolkit.

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Anne Hayes, Riverside’s Capital Markets Partner, helped secure the incremental financing for the transaction, which was supported by Parker’s current lending group comprised of Madison Capital Funding and GMB Mezzanine Capital.