DELPHOS, OHIO and LINCOLN, NEB. — Universal Pure Holdings, LLC announced June 2 it has acquired Hydrofresh Ltd., a high-pressure processing (HPP) and cold storage provider owned by Keller Logistics Group, Inc. Hydrofresh operates in the Midwestern United States, which is expected to support Universal Pure’s geographic reach and service capabilities.
Hydrofresh was founded by Keller Logistics Group and Don Klausing, now president of Hydrofresh, in 2018. The company offers HPP, cold storage and distribution services for food and beverage customers, leading with customer service, community support and state-of-the-art operations. Hydrofresh has been gradually growing its HPP capacity since it was founded.
“We started with seven full-time employees and now have over 100 employees,” Klausing said. “Since 2018 we’ve installed a second machine to keep servicing our customers’ growing need for HPP. Both Hydrofresh HPP and Universal Pure are focused on helping food manufacturers provide high-quality products with clean labels that consumers are demanding today. The HPP technology also provides a longer shelf life and with that, less food waste. By joining the Universal Pure network, we’ll be able to expand our customers’ access to HPP services across the United States.”
Klausing will continue to lead Hydrofresh HPP under Universal Pure’s ownership.
Universal Pure currently serves more than 150 food and beverage customers, including pet food manufacturers. Combined with Hydrofresh, the company will own 20 HPP machines strategically located across seven facilities in the United States.
“We are thrilled to add Hydrofresh HPP to the Universal Pure network, which builds a truly national platform of HPP-centered cold chain solutions,” said Jeff Williams, chief executive officer of Universal Pure. “We have great respect and admiration for the company Don and his team have built over the past four years and look forward to working with the Hydrofresh HPP team to drive further growth across our businesses.”
The acquisition also positions Universal Pure’s HPP and cold chain services within one trucking day of major food production areas in the United States, which is expected to increase the quality and speed of service.
“Adding Hydrofresh HPP’s capabilities to Universal Pure will enable us to better serve our customers and their supply chain needs to deliver safe, healthy and clean label foods,” Williams added. “Through the dedication of our combined team of nearly 800 employees, we are thrilled about the opportunity to further cement our leadership position in the HPP industry. This transaction showcases Universal Pure’s commitment to invest in our capabilities and services to further advance adoption of HPP.”
The use of HPP in pet food processing is growing as consumer demand shifts toward clean-label formulations and fresher formats. The process offers shelf life and food safety without compromising nutritional value, texture or taste of the product.
“The process of HPP was brought to my attention by the Mayor of Defiance because he thought that Keller Logistics Group’s experience in warehousing and distribution provided the capabilities to bring HPP to northwestern Ohio,” said Bryan Keller, chief executive officer of Keller Logistics Group. “Since HPP is outside of Keller Logistics Group’s core focus of logistics, we feel that partnering with Universal, the market leading provider of HPP services, is better for the business and the Hydrofresh HPP team. Don and his team’s expertise have made Hydrofresh HPP a success. Now they will become part of a larger network allowing them to continue to serve their customers, expand their services, and provide quality jobs for the residents of Delphos, Ohio.”
Universal Pure is a portfolio company of Chicago-based private investment firm Tilia Holdings.
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