Peak Rock acquires Turkey Hill Dairy from Kroger

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Kroger has recently put new emphasis on its ecommerce platform by launching Kroger Ship last summer.
Kroger has recently put new emphasis on its ecommerce platform by launching Kroger Ship last summer.

Related tags Ice cream Kroger acquisition Mergers and acquisitions

Peak Rock Capital has signed an agreement to acquire the Turkey Hill Dairy business from The Kroger Co., known for ice cream, refrigerated drinks and other dairy products. It marks Peak Rock’s eighth current investment in the food and beverage industry.

Since 1931, Turkey Hill has provided products for retail, foodservice and alternative channels to clients like blue chip grocers, distributors, wholesalers and convenience stores. The transaction is expected to close in Kroger’s fiscal Q1 2019.

Last summer Kroger revealed that it was considering a sale of the house brand, which it has owned since 1985. Turkey Hill employs nearly 800 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers out of a Conestoga, Penn., facility, and Peak Rock will continue operating the business from there with all employees.

Kroger didn’t provide a reason for why it wanted to part ways with Turkey Hill, but said its “successful and recognizable ice cream and beverage products have the potential for greater growth outside of ​[the] company.”

Kroger has also recently put new emphasis on its ecommerce platform by launching Kroger Ship last summer. It rewards ‘fuel points’ with every purchase, offering both grocery delivery and pickup at stores nationwide. In 2017 Turkey Hill made the list of top 10 ice cream brands purchased online, coming in at number 9.

'Aggressively' pursuing more acquisitions

Peak Rock invests in seven other food and beverage brands, including Berner Food & Beverage, Diamond Crystal Brands, Gold Coast Bakeries, Louisiana Fish Fry, Pretzels, Inc., Sweet Harvest Foods and TNT Crust.

Robert Pistilli, managing director of Peak Rock, said, “Turkey Hill represents an exciting opportunity to invest in a premier brand with an established reputation for quality, flavor variety, and authenticity, within the large and growing ice cream and refrigerated drinks space.”

“We are impressed with the accomplishments of the business under the stewardship of Kroger, and look forward to completing a seamless transition of the business to a standalone entity and partnering with Turkey Hill’s management team to drive significant growth through continued product innovation.”

Erin Sharp, group VP for Kroger Manufacturing, said, "We believe this is the right step to ensure the Turkey Hill business can meet its full potential and continue to grow its successful ice cream and beverage brands. Throughout this process, we were extremely impressed with Peak Rock's professionalism and vision for the future of the Turkey Hill business. We look forward to working with them to ensure a smooth and successful transition for all parties."

Anthony DiSimone, CEO of Peak Rock, said, “This transaction further exemplifies Peak Rock’s deep experience and capability in executing complex carve-out transactions. It also highlights our continued interest in attractive assets in the food and beverage industry.”

“We believe that Turkey Hill represents an excellent platform for growth through near-term organic initiatives and strategic acquisitions. We will be aggressively pursuing complimentary acquisitions to extend the product and brand portfolio.”

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