With over two decades of experience in complex corporate finance and M&A transactions, Meridian Capital serves as a trusted advisor to leading middle market companies. We have over $6B in transaction experience, which offers us deep industry insight and a holistic industry coverage. Our seasoned professionals focus on businesses with $20M to $400M+ in enterprise value.

Twice a year, Meridian Capital publishes its Food & Beverage M&A Update, which focuses on key M&A trends. The Winter 2019 edition focuses on healthy snacks, specialty coffee and beverages.

For a PDF version of this newsletter please click HERE



Michael Barber
Managing Director
Nick Colmenero
Vice President
Benton Sturt
Hayley Koellen
Senior Analyst
Sean Maier



  • The market for healthier snacks continues to evolve at a rapid pace as consumers display increased demand for products that satisfy more holistic health needs. Driven by the growing need for convenient food items alongside health and environmental concerns, global sales of healthy snacks are forecasted to reach $32.8B by 20251. To capitalize on this growing market, many brands have sought to differentiate themselves by introducing functional ingredients; focusing on natural, healthy, and organic ingredients; introducing reimagined, portable and better-for-you snacks; using innovative packing; and emphasizing stronger ecommerce capabilities.
  • From an M&A perspective, the snack space continues to be highly active with a broad base of both domestic and international acquirers and investors.
  • Notable transactions include Unilever’s acquisition of Mae Terra, PepsiCo’s $200M acquisition of Bare Foods and of Health Warrior, Hershey’s acquisition of Pirate Brands, Lotus Bakeries’ acquisition of Kiddylicious, and Conagra’s $250M acquisition of Angie’s Artisan Treats (Boomchickapop).


  • The specialty coffee segment remains an active sector, buoyed by a wave of investment activity in 2018 that exceeded $22B in reported transaction value1. Investments have been made across the industry’s supply chain, ranging from independent roasters and wholesalers to publicly traded, multi-national retailers. The robust level of investor activity continues to reshape the coffee landscape as newer entrants seek capital to fuel growth and as mature CPG conglomerates seek to diversify their portfolio of legacy brands with higher-growth specialty coffee assets.
  • Notable transactions include TSG Consumer’s private placement in 300-unit coffee retailer Dutch Bros, Lavazza’s $650M acquisition of Mar’s coffee division, Kraft Heinz’s acquisition of specialty coffee wholesaler Ethical Bean, and Coca-Cola’s $5.1B acquisition of 4,000-unit coffee retailer Costa Coffee.


  • In 2018, M&A activity in the non-alcoholic beverage segment centered around the current health and wellness movement mainly driven by millennial consumers. Consumer tastes continue to shift towards a desire for “better-for-you”, natural, authentic, and high-quality products that provide a unique experience or purpose. Throughout the course of 2018, 34 transactions were completed in the better-for-you beverage space1.
  • The market has seen producers of non-alcoholic craft beverages and natural teas targeted by large industry operators, even those that have traditionally operated solely in the alcoholic beverage segment. Many acquirers are targeting companies that fill a niche in their product portfolio and will pay a premium to compete with other potential buyers.
  • Notable transactions include PepsiCo’s $3.2B acquisition of sparkling water developer SodaStream, Cavu’s $20M investment in organic herb-infused coconut milk beverage Rebbl, and Coca-Cola’s minority stake in premium sports beverage BodyArmor.
  • Other transactions of interest include Molson Coors’ acquisition of an organic and light kombucha producer Clearly Kombucha, Dunn’s River Brands acquisition of BFY whole-root turmeric beverages Temple Turmeric, and All Market’s (Vita Coco) acquisition of RUNA, a producer of guayusa-based organic energy drinks.

“Consumers continue to demand more natural options due to the heightened awareness surrounding overall health and wellness. Not only do consumers want to be healthier, but they want to have a personal connection and share values with the brands they purchase from. Emerging brands that focus on better-for-you products have performed well in the food and beverage sector because they have been able to genuinely connect with customers that want to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Madeline Haydon, CEO & Founder – Nutpods


Deal size is listed in millions of dollars.

  • null

    Acquired in December 2018


    Deal Size EV/Rev EV/EBITDA
    $80 1.4x 11.4x


    Target Description: Producer and distributor of packaged avocado based food products primarily, guacamole dips.

    Investment Rationale: The acquisition will enable Landec Natural Foods to grow, strengthen and stabilize its position in the natural foods market, and create critical mass.

    Buyer Quote: “The acquisition of Yucatan Foods accelerates the transformation of our vision of becoming a natural foods company even further.” – Molly Hemmeter, CEO of Landec Corporation

  • null

    Acquired in October 2018


    Deal Size EV/Rev EV/EBITDA


    Target Description: Manufacturer of plant-based nutrition bars and other snacks with natural ingredients such as chia and pumpkin seeds.

    Investment Rationale: The deal furthers PepsiCo’s evolution into healthier items as customers increasingly demand alternatives to sugary beverages and junk food.

    Buyer Quote: “This acquisition helps us increase our presence in the nutrition bar category, which is an attractive growth space.” – Al Carey, CEO of PepsiCo North America

  • null

    Acquired in August 2018


    Deal Size EV/Rev EV/EBITDA
    $3,200 4.9x 23.7x


    Target Description: Developer of beverage carbonation systems designed to transform ordinary tap water into sparking water.

    Investment Rationale: The acquisition will enable PepsiCo to make more nutritious products while limiting their environmental footprint.

    Buyer Quote: “With its customizable options, SodaStream empowers consumers to personalize their preferred beverage in an environmentally friendly way and provides PepsiCo with a significant presence in the at-home market place.”– Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo

  • null

    Acquired in August 2018


    Deal Size EV/Rev EV/EBITDA
    $5,100 3.0x 16.0x


    Target Description: U.K. based coffeehouse chain with an international footprint of ~4,000 retail cafes.

    Investment Rationale: The acquisition provides Coca-Cola with strong expertise across the coffee supply chain. Global coffee sales are forecasted to grow 16% by 2022.

    Buyer Quote: “The Costa brand has potential for expansion into ready-to-drink coffee across markets globally.” – James Quincy, CEO of Coca-Cola


  • EBITDA Multiples (multiples represent company set presented in above link - Select Public Food & Beverage Companies)

“Legacy CPG companies have struggled with launching new products that address evolving consumer preferences for healthier and more natural products. Historically, consumers had been inclined to purchase products at lower price points with less attention to product quality or a company’s mission-based values. Today; however, consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that are characterized as better-for-you and focused on things like social sustainability. Emerging brands are the companies that are driving a lot of this innovation in the food and beverage space. As a result, there has a been a significant amount of investment and M&A as many strategics have looked towards inorganic growth as a means of competing and capitalizing on market trends”

Michael Barber, Managing Director
Meridian Capital