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03/11/2021

2 snack companies merge, form private brand supplier Awakened Food Crafters

Ka-Pop! Snacks and Bubba’s Fine Foods are merging to form Awakened Foods and develop a private label and co-manufacturing arm focusing on healthy snacks, cereal and granola.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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There’s a new private label and co-manufacturer of snacks and granolas on the block, formed out of a merger between Ka-Pop! Snacks and Bubba’s Fine Foods.

The new company, Awakened Foods, will have a private brand division called Awakened Food Crafters that will aim to compete in the $110 billion healthy snacks market and $38 billion cereal and granola market.

The company will be headquartered in Loveland, Colo., and focus on providing healthy snacks, both branded and for private brands, that fit the keto and paleo diet trends.

"In a recent survey we conducted, we found that well over 50% of natural food brands were dissatisfied with their current co-manufacturer," said Dustin Finkel, CEO of Awakened Foods, parent company to Awakened Food Crafters. "Often it's because their co-man is unable to work with high growth brands with rigorous standards. That's not the case with Awakened Food Crafters. We are also branded business owners living that same experience. We have designed our entire team and manufacturing facility around the belief that we need to accelerate capabilities in health, taste, and quality for fast-growing partners."

a group of people standing in a kitchen preparing food

The combined companies reflect Ka-Pop! Snacks, makers of Ancient Grain Popped Chips & Puffs, and Bubba's Fine Foods, makers of Paleo & Keto-friendly snacks, granolas, and private-label goods. Finkel, who was CEO and founder of Ka-Pop! Snacks, will lead Awakened Foods as CEO, and Jeff Schmidgall, who founded and led Bubba's Fine Foods as CEO, will take over as COO of the new company. Combined, they bring more than 45 years of CPG leadership, manufacturing, and finance experience.

"Our philosophy is that making and sharing food is a sacred privilege. We take that responsibility incredibly seriously, and we bring that same commitment to our co-manufacturing and private label clients. Our capabilities for natural food brands, big and small, are truly unique in the industry. Additionally, our central location and top-tier food safety and quality standards make Awakened Food Crafters a fantastic solution for so many in the better for you industry," remarked Jeff Schmidgall, COO of Awakened Foods.

For the private brand arm of the company, Awakened Food Crafters, the division will meet rigorous certification requirements, including SQF Level 2 certification, and offer gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, nut-free, and Kosher certifications. The company will also provide clients full R&D support, strategic consulting, and broad production capabilities across snacks, granolas, extruded products, banana chips, and popped chips.