CHICAGO and PATERSON, NJ. — SK Capital Partners, LP, a private investment firm focused on specialty materials, ingredients and life sciences sectors, has signed an agreement to acquire J&K Ingredients, Inc. from CORE Industrial Partners. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This success story highlights CORE’s experience in identifying and investing into businesses to help them achieve their next stage of growth,” said John May, managing partner of CORE. “Alongside [CEO] Ricardo Alvarez and the rest of the talented J&K management team, we have executed our operating playbook to create meaningful value while putting J&K on a path for continued future growth.”
Founded in 1899, J&K Ingredients is a manufacturer and supplier of various food and beverage ingredients with a special emphasis on natural, organic and clean label. CORE invested in J&K Ingredients in October 2020, aiming to scale the business by enhancing its bakery ingredients and expanding its natural preservative offerings.
“We are proud to have been a part of J&K’s century-plus history in the food & beverage ingredients industry,” said TJ Chung, senior partner of CORE and chairman of J&K Ingredients. “J&K has always been an innovative company within its categories and leads with premium, high-quality products that create value for its customers. We saw an opportunity to drive J&K’s clear customer value proposition by expanding its premium product offerings, ultimately creating higher quality foods in our grocery stores and restaurants.”
According to J&K Ingredients, it pioneered the baking industry’s first natural mold inhibitor, Bred-Mate, and has continued its legacy by focusing on clean-label ingredient innovations, custom formulations and other capabilities throughout the various food and beverage industries. In addition to its mold inhibiting ingredients, J&K Ingredients’ offerings span more than 400 products across 13 categories, including bread and roll bases, dough conditioners, egg and milk replacers, flavors, emulsions and stabilizers.
“As a differentiated provider of high value solutions to its customers, J&K represents a business with which we seek to partner,” said Dan Lory, principal at SK Capital. “We are excited to leverage our expertise in the food ingredient industry and collaborate with J&K to usher in the next phase of growth, building an attractive ingredients platform driven by a proactive commercial strategy and recognized for its comprehensive offering.”
In 2019, J&K Ingredients launched SOR-Mate, the first high-efficacy clean-label alternative to potassium sorbate, according to the company. SOR-Mate has applications in bakery, beverages, snacks, dairy and pet food, with the ability to maintain freshness and shelf life.
“Under its experienced leadership team which prioritizes compliance, custom solutions, and maximizing value for customers, we believe J&K Ingredients will continue to be the premier supplier of natural preservatives in a constantly evolving market,” said Mario Toukan, managing director at SK Capital. “The company’s deep expertise and focus on innovation, exemplified by the breakthrough and success of SOR-Mate, not only makes it an essential partner to the bakery market, but opens its doors for customers seeking clean label solutions across the food and beverage industry.”
The transaction is expected to close before the end of this year.
“It has been a pleasure to partner with the CORE and J&K teams to continue to build upon J&K’s legacy of success,” Alvarez said. “We developed and executed our strategic growth plan to scale the business, which was completed during a dynamic operating environment. J&K strives to consistently deliver innovative and trusted solutions to our customers, and we have and will continue to deliver on this promise. The J&K team has worked incredibly hard and remains excited about the future opportunities for the business.
“SK Capital’s history of success in the food and beverage and broader ingredients industry and its focus on accelerating growth make them an ideal partner for J&K,” he added. “Most importantly, they share our belief that J&K is uniquely positioned for the long term to capitalize on the industry-wide movement to clean label products and are committed to investing in its growth. We look forward to working together to bring ‘better for you’ products to consumers.”
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