Alter Eco acquired to keep mission strong


NOSH – 13/12/2017

By Carol Ortenberg

After over a decade and a half on U.S. store shelves, fair trade focused snack and chocolate brand Alter Eco has been acquired by strategic equity firm NextWorld Evergreen (NWE). Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Alter Eco co-founders and co-CEOs Edouard Rollet and Mathieu Senard said that they, as well as the company's 25 employees will remain with the brand and the company's mission will stay firmly in place. [...]

Alter Eco has been thriving on its own, with $20 million in sales last year and a compound annual growth rate of +35 percent. The brand's line of certified Organic, Non-GMO and Fair Trade chocolate bars, chocolate truffles, quinoa and snacks are currently sold in over 10,000 stores across the U.S., including Whole Foods Market, Sprouts, Wegmans, Kroger and Publix, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As part of its mission, Alter Eco sources its ingredients from farmer cooperatives around the globe.

The company had been funded by a mix of private equity and venture capital groups and individual investors. In total, Alter Eco has had more than 40 previous investors. [...]

Alter Eco's mission has been a key feature of the business since its inception. The company first launched in France in 1998 selling hand-crafted, fair trade artisan items before transitioning to a commodity-focused food brand in 2000. Rollet and Senard, both members of the original French company, created a separate American company in 2003 and landed their first products on shelves in 2005. Since then, the company has become a Public Benefit Corporation (B-Corp). [...]

For NWE, the plan is to use Alter Eco's already developed pipeline for 2018 and during that window, work with the team on future strategy, Fife told NOSH. Part of this strategy will be how to grow from its current size.

Michel Dyens