Universal Pure Holdings LLC (“Universal Pure”), the largest independent provider of high pressure processing services in North America and a portfolio company of Tilia Holdings, is pleased to announce its acquisition of Stay Fresh Foods LLC (“Stay Fresh”) as of July 1, 2019.
The transaction combines two recognized leaders within the high pressure processing (HPP) services and solutions industry, facilitating the delivery of even higher levels of services and quality to food and beverage processors. The consolidated platform will operate 15 HPP machines across six locations in the U.S., serve over 110 customers and have high pressure processed over 900 million pounds of food and beverage products.
Stay Fresh Foods was founded by food industry veterans Amy Lawless and Joe Ragozzino in 2012 to provide custom HPP services. Guided by a strategic “under-one-roof” approach and a laser-sharp focus on customer needs, the company has steadily increased its offerings to include beverage co-packing and a host of supply chain and value-added services, all available from its two locations, in Meriden, Connecticut, and Pennsauken, New Jersey.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Amy Lawless and her team to help fuel the growth of our combined businesses,” said Jeff Williams, CEO of Universal Pure.
Both Universal Pure and Stay Fresh Foods have played a major role in advancing the adoption of HPP over the past seven years. “It’s been very gratifying to see the transformation of HPP from a pioneering food safety technology to a mainstream approach that promotes healthful eating,” comments Ms. Lawless, President of Stay Fresh Foods. “Universal Pure has also been at the forefront, and we share a common service-oriented mentality. As part of the Universal Pure family, we can offer more resources and more locations to our customers, while assuring them that the things that make us special - our responsiveness and rapid processing turnaround, for example - will stay the same.”
“As the demand grows for healthier foods and cleaner ingredient labels, Stay Fresh’s range of capabilities and expertise expands our capacity and geography, enabling us to better serve branded customers, retailers and foodservice companies,” added Mr. Williams. “We are excited about the opportunity to accelerate our leadership position in the HPP industry and will continue to invest in our capabilities, services, geographic reach and people to better serve our customers.”
Ms. Lawless will retain her role as president of Stay Fresh Foods, focusing on Northeast sales and growth of the combined entity’s beverage business. She will report directly to Mr. Williams. Mr. Ragozzino will become the general manager of Stay Fresh Foods, overseeing operations in Connecticut and New Jersey as well as assisting with other Universal Pure growth initiatives. He will report to Randy Pierce, Universal Pure vice president of operations.