SONOMA, CALIF. — Just over a month after acquiring Krave Pure Foods Inc. from The Hershey Co., Sonoma Brands has snagged another premium meat snack brand, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2009, Chef’s Cut offers jerky, meat sticks and biltong. The brand will continue to develop products alongside Krave as part of a protein snacking portfolio within Sonoma Brands, a private equity investment firm and brand incubator. Krave products include meat cuts, pork rinds and newly added plant-based jerky.
Jon Sebastiani founded Krave in 2009, igniting a gourmet meat snack trend, and sold the business to Hershey in 2015. The following year, he launched Sonoma Brands, which has developed and introduced brands including Smashmallow and Peckish while investing in Dang Foods, Hu Products, Yumble and Milk Bar.
“Jon is a true brand builder who has been at the forefront of this category for years and we are excited to have Chef’s Cut join Sonoma Brands for this next chapter,” said Bart Adlam, formerly chief executive officer of Chef’s Cut.
Kevin Murphy, managing director of Sonoma Brands, will lead the Krave and Chef’s Cut businesses as interim CEO of the combined entity.
“Our goal is to reenergize the premium segment of the meat snacks category,” Murphy said. “Through a focus on product quality and innovation supported by impactful marketing and a thoughtful promotional strategy, we are committed to driving incremental growth for our retail partners while delivering a great product and experience to consumers.”
Rusti Porter, chief marketing officer of Krave, added, “We see tremendous opportunity for continued growth in meat snacking and feel fortunate to lead a second wave of the jerky renaissance with both Krave and Chef’s Cut at the helm. It is our belief that Chef’s Cut and Krave are complementary brands that engage with different consumers, both the traditional jerky shopper as well as the health and fitness-minded millennial who seeks artisanal flavors and quality ingredients.”