Cody Lane and Neil Dudley, Pederson's Natural Farms
Pederson’s Natural Farms has acquired Nature’s Rancher, a brand offered by Whole Foods Market.
After working with the culinary team at Nature’s Rancher on the research and development of a fully cooked, shelf-stable snack bacon, which was launched by the company earlier this year, the Cowboy-minded leadership team at Pederson’s Natural Farms announced on Aug. 11 that it had acquired the Whole Foods Market exclusive, natural meats brand.

“By folding the Nature’s Rancher brand into our operations, we are better positioned to take advantage of our long-term strategic growth goals, which includes an increasingly integrated business model and multi protein product mix,” said Neil Dudley, vice president of operations at Pederson’s. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nature’s Rancher’s ready-to-eat snack bacon is currently being sold at all Whole Foods Market locations, with attributes that appeal to the retailer’s core customers, using pork that is sourced from humanely raised, vegetarian fed and antibiotic free. The product is designed to eat directly from the package.

According to Pederson’s, Nature’s Rancher will roll out a new look for the brand in September.

Pederson’s is led by Cody Lane, president, and his childhood best friend, Dudley. The company previously focused production on ham, sausage and bacon, but about a decade ago, there was a shift in demand to bacon. Lane said that shift is now the reason behind the company’s production of approximately 100,000 lbs. of bacon per week for foodservice and retail customers. Bacon makes up at least 85 percent of the company’s business, according to Lane. The company employs about 60, and operates a 34,000-sq.-ft. plant in Hamilton.