Arbor Investments Announces Acquisition of Largest North American Freeze-Dryer, Oregon Freeze Dry

Dec. 15, 2021

Arbor Investments (“Arbor”), a specialized private equity firm that focuses exclusively on investing in food, beverage and related industries, announced today the acquisition of Oregon Freeze Dry (“OFD” or the “Company”) from Endeavour Capital. The transaction marks the fifth platform investment for Arbor Fund V. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1963, OFD is North America’s largest and most technologically advanced freeze-dryer of food, probiotics, enzymes, proteins, specialty ingredients, and lyophilized pharmaceutical inputs. With nearly six decades of institutional knowledge and proprietary lyophilization expertise, OFD manufactures innovative and value-added freeze-dried products for a diversified and high-growth mix of end-markets. This expertise is paired with OFD’s unmatched production scale and capabilities, including 36 freeze-drying chambers spread across four best-in-class bicoastal facilities, with nearly 550 employees. A new state-of-the-art West Coast facility is also under construction (scheduled to open mid-2022) which will further enhance the Company’s lyophilized pharmaceutical capabilities.

With a storied history that includes working with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide meals to troops and supporting NASA space missions (including products taken on every Apollo mission to the Moon), Oregon Freeze Dry is a pioneer in freeze-drying food applications that have superior flavor, long shelf-life and convenient preparation. From producing meals for the U.S. military to making products for on-the-go consumers and emergency preparedness under its own retail brand, Mountain House®, OFD has perfected the art and science of manufacturing superior tasting products that are nutrient-preserving while being clean-label and preservative-free. The Company’s Mountain House® brand, with omnichannel distribution across mass, club, eCommerce and specialty retail, is the unrivaled #1 freeze-dried brand in the adventure and outdoor meal category.

Leveraging the Company’s institutional “know-how” in technical, high-value added freeze-drying, OFD utilizes its proprietary LyoLock™ process to also produce customized critical inputs for multinational customers in the nutritional supplements, ingredients and pharmaceutical industries. OFD brings an innovative approach to designing and commercializing successful product concepts and is a key contract manufacturing partner to an enviable list of sophisticated customers.

Oregon Freeze Dry CEO Joe Folds and other senior leadership will continue to lead OFD from their headquarters in Albany, Oregon.

“For decades, Oregon Freeze Dry has set the standard of excellence in meals for consumers and the U.S. military, as well as serving as a trusted partner for our contract manufacturing customers,” said Folds. “Our ambition has always been to grow – across both new products and new capabilities – and we are excited to be partnering with Arbor, who completely shares our appetite and vision for continued ambitious growth.”

“Oregon Freeze Dry is the clear market leader for a broad range of high value-added products in thriving categories,” stated Arbor Partner Chris Tuffin. “The Company’s unmatched scale, Mountain House’s brand equity, and long-term relationships with blue-chip customers make this a compelling platform investment for Arbor.”

“The Oregon Freeze Dry team has a distinguished track record of successful new product development and is widely respected by customers and other freeze-dryers as the best in the business,” added Arbor Senior Operating Partner Tim Fallon. “With numerous opportunities to continue driving growth through innovation, new capabilities and category extensions, we look forward to partnering with Joe and the OFD leadership team to further accelerate growth.”

Winston & Strawn LLP served as Arbor’s legal counsel in connection with the transaction. Cascadia Capital served as Exclusive Financial Advisor and Stoel Rives LLP served as legal counsel to OFD.