Dive Brief:

  • Ardent Mills is buying Andean Naturals’ quinoa sourcing, cleansing and packaging operation in Yuba City, California. The Denver-based ingredient and flour-milling firm mentioned the deal needs to be accomplished by the center of this month, however didn’t disclose any monetary particulars.
  • The new enterprise can be below The Annex, Ardent’s specialty grain and plant-based components unit. The Annex’s portfolio consists of historical and heirloom grains, natural grains and flours, sprouted wheat and chickpeas.
  • Ardent CEO Dan Dye mentioned within the launch the business is altering quick as customers proceed to search for dietary selection. “As a result, we are making proactive investments in The Annex to meet consumer demand for high-quality, nutritious grains and other sources of plant-based ingredients. With this acquisition, we will be able to offer a complete solution for quinoa and other gluten-free ingredients,” he mentioned.

Dive Insight:

Yuba City will be the corporate’s first gluten-free sourcing and cleansing facility with the flexibility to develop to extra grains. This facility might assist the corporate improve its grain portfolio because it begins pivoting away from flour. 

This newest acquisition follows plenty of strikes Ardent made final yr to just do that. In 2019, Ardent purchased an natural grain elevator in Oregon to bolster the corporate’s capability to help growers within the Pacific Northwest. It additionally shaped an unique partnership with Colorado Quinoa to scrub, mill and market quinoa grown in that state, and invested in a Denver grain mill.

At the identical time, the corporate has diminished its flour-milling capability by closing 4 crops — in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota — between final June and the present quarter. According to Reuters, these closures stemmed from anticipated discount in demand and efforts to make the Ardent community extra environment friendly.​ The firm nonetheless has greater than 35 mills, mixing amenities and a bakery unfold throughout 20 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Ardent was launched in 2014 as an unbiased three way partnership between Conagra, Cargill and CHS to introduce flour and grain improvements to {the marketplace}. Its mixture of manufacturing experience and up to date M&A exercise ought to assist to supply Andean with expanded market entry and help to scale as much as benefit from rising client curiosity in quinoa.

Quinoa, which can be a seed however is categorized as a pseudocereal and sometimes ready as a grain, is getting extra standard as customers turn out to be conscious of its dietary qualities. Since quinoa comprises all 9 important amino acids, it’s a thought of a whole protein. It additionally comprises fiber, is gluten-free and offers a wealth of antioxidants and minerals, B nutritional vitamins and iron.

Getting into the quinoa enterprise might be a sensible transfer for Ardent, which has beforehand innovated with its Sustagrain High-Fiber Barley and chickpea flour and by growing pasta made with its Ultragrain whole-wheat flour and semolina.

The firm’s manufacturing capability — together with the incoming Andean Naturals’ California operations — might place Ardent to take additional benefit of the persevering with progress in historical grains. Ancient grains began to see progress between 2015 and 2016 when the market jumped up 11.6%, in line with Innova Market Inisghts, and that has continued. Industry Arc predicts that the traditional grains market will surpass $2.56 billion by 2023, rising at an annual price of 36.6% from 2018 to 2023.

The prime international class for grains has been in bakery, however they can be utilized in lots of different locations. Ancient grains are gaining reputation amongst Americans in many various merchandise from cereals, salads and breads to pizza, crackers and snacks.

Amaranth and quinoa have acquired extra curiosity due to their gluten-free properties, in line with Industry Arc. Quinoa appeared in 44% of all U.S. product launches containing historical grains in 2017. Besides its grain-like makes use of, it’s being made into powder and milk merchandise and will discover a position in making whiskey.

As this pattern continues, Ardent will possible proceed to maneuver away from its flour enterprise whereas trying to create alternatives for extra grain- and plant-based components destined for inclusion in a variety of meals and beverage merchandise.

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