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Florida Food Products is acquiring Comax Flavors (Comax Manufacturing Corp.), a leading U.S. provider of natural flavors, for an undisclosed amount.

Judie Bizzozero

November 30, 2021

4 Min Read
Florida Food Products

The acquisition comes two months after private equity firm Ardian acquired a majority stake in Florida Food Products from MidOcean Partners to accelerate its strategic roadmap through increased investment in R&D and the completion of strategic acquisitions.

Florida Food Products is a leading innovator, formulator and producer of vegetable and fruit-based clean label ingredients. It is one of the largest providers of clean label cures for protein sector and the company’s rapidly growing portfolio of natural ingredients have applications in every segment of the food and beverage industry. The acquisition of Comax Flavors expands Florida Food Products Taste Division’s portfolio of innovative clean label flavor solutions.

Founded in 1977 by the Calabretta family, Comax portfolio boasts nearly 1,000 natural flavor SKUs. As part of the FFP family, Comax will continue to operate its Melville, New York, manufacturing facility and its Marlton, New Jersey research and development (R&D) facility.  The Calabretta family will maintain an equity position in the combined business.

“This partnership gives Comax access to new technologies, ingredients, and distribution that will accelerate the existing Comax business and provide more solutions and capabilities for our valued customers,” said Comax CEO Peter Calabretta Jr.

“Comax has built an impressive portfolio of natural flavors, which we intend to augment with FFP’s industry leading extraction, drying and fermentation capabilities,” said Florida Food Products’ CEO Jim Holdrieth. “Our acquisition of Comax represents our first major investment of the Ardian and MidOcean partnership and accelerates our objective of becoming the industry’s largest independent provider of natural ingredients.”

Food & Beverage Insider Insights

The upward trajectory for natural flavors is expected to continue as consumers demand food and beverage products made natural, organic and clean label ingredients. In fact, data from Grand View Research estimates the U.S. flavors market size will reach $4.87 billion by 2025. The market research firm also predicts the global natural food colors market size will be worth an estimated $US2.5 billion by 2025 due to high demand in beverage, bakery and confectionery applications.

This latest acquisition is just one of many in the natural flavors and colors space this year. In October 2021, Givaudan reached an agreement to acquire DDW, The Color House. The acquisition is part of Givaudan’s 2025 strategy to expand the portfolio of its global Tate & Wellbeing business. The deal strengthens Givaudan’s position as a global leader in natural colors, enhancing its ability to create “Feel Good” food experiences through its extensive portfolio of taste and sense solutions. In 2018, Givaudan acquired Naturex, a manufacturer and marketer of plant-based specialty ingredients for the food, health and cosmetic industries, in a two-part deal that amounted to approximately US$1.6 billion.

In September 2021, Oterra announced it was acquiring Diana Food’s natural food coloring business, which is currently owned by Symrise AG, a global supplier of fragrances, flavors, food, nutrition and cosmetic ingredients. The acquisition comes on the heels of Oterra’s acquisition of SECNA Natural Ingredients Group S.L in June 2021, which helped cement Oterra’s footprint in the natural colors market.

In May 2021, Synergy Flavors Inc., a member of the Irish-based Carbery Group, announced the acquisition of leading savory flavor and ingredient supplier, Innova Flavors, from Griffith Foods Worldwide. The deal expanded the savory capabilities of Synergy Flavors in alignment with the innovative new product development happening in meat alternatives, sauces, side dishes and snacks.

In April, Olam Food Ingredients announced it was paying US$950 million to acquire Olde Thompson, a leading U.S. private label spices, seasonings, baking ingredients and spice-related housewares. The acquisition is aligned with Olam’s vision and accelerates its growth strategy of delivering sustainable, natural, value-added food and beverage ingredients and solutions.

On Feb. 1, International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) completed its $26 billion merger with DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences. The deal created global reach and enhanced capabilities that will enable the creation of innovative solutions to respond to customer demands and increasing consumer preferences for natural, healthier and “better for you” products in the food & beverage, home & personal care, and health & wellness markets. The deal follows its 2019 acquisition of Israel-based Frutarom for a US$7.1 billion cash and stock deal that accelerated its Vision 2020 strategy to create a global leader in taste, scent and nutrition.

In January 2021, McCormick & Co. Inc. acquired FONA International for $710 million in cash. The deal accelerated the company’s flavor growth and strengthened its leadership in clean and natural flavors.

About the Author(s)

Judie Bizzozero

Content Director, Informa Markets Health & Nutrition

Judie Bizzozero oversees food and beverage content strategy and development for the Health & Nutrition group at Informa Markets (which acquired VIRGO in 2014), including the Food & Beverage Insider, Natural Products Insider and SupplySide/Food ingredients North America brands. She reports on market trends, science-based ingredients, and challenges and solutions in the development of healthy foods and beverages. Bizzozero graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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