July 15, 2019
VILLA RICA, GA – JULY 17, 2019 | Universal Pure Holdings LLC (“Universal Pure”), a Tilia Holdings company, is pleased to announce the 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.
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. With this acquisition, Universal Pure, already the largest provider of HPP services in North America, now operates six facilities across the U.S.
Both companies 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, Stay Fresh Foods President. “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.”
According to Jeff Williams, CEO at Universal Pure, “We are thrilled to join forces with Amy Lawless and her team to help fuel the growth of our combined businesses. 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.”
Ms. Lawless will retain her role as President of Stay Fresh Foods, focusing on Northeast sales and growth of the 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.
Stay Fresh Foods provides custom high pressure processing services on a contract basis to the food and beverage industry, utilizing proven technology that substantially improves the safety and extends the shelf life of packaged products without chemical additives or preservatives. The company’s two SQF Level 3-certified facilities, in Meriden, Conn., and Pennsauken, N.J., also offer beverage co-packing and product development assistance (testing, formulation changes, shelf-life studies, packaging selection), along with an integrated menu of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) supply chain and pre- and post-HPP value-added services. For more information, please visit www.stayfreshfoods.com.
Universal Pure is the largest provider of HPP services in North America and is dedicated to helping ensure the safety and quality of foods and beverages. Companies also outsource with Universal Pure for cold storage and related pre-HPP and post-HPP value-added services, including kitting, pricing, code dating and inventory control, and to leverage Universal Pure’s technical, quality assurance, engineering and cold-chain expertise. Universal Pure’s customer-centric and turnkey operations deliver a customized, flexible end-to-end solution across a diverse, blue-chip customer base through the company’s strategic footprint of six U.S. locations. For more information, please visit www.universalpure.com.
Tilia is a mission-driven private investment firm focused exclusively on building distinctive middle- market companies that provide outsourced, technical services across the global food and nutrition supply chain. Tilia has significant expertise scaling and growing services companies and believes in the parity between financial and operating expertise. Tilia’s deep sector focused strategy is a successful approach to investments that spans almost three decades and approaches each investment as a steward by employing a consistent set of principles to improve capital across four dimensions: brand, human, social and financial. For more information, please visit www.tiliallc.com.
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