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Jerky Company Chomps Receives $80 Million in Private Equity Cash

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(Bloomberg) —

High-end jerky maker Chomps has secured an $80 million minority investment from private equity firm Stride Consumer Partners, according to the snacking company’s chief executive officer.

The health-focused snack startup now has a valuation between $200 million and $300 million, CEO Peter Maldonado, who is also Chomps’ co-founder, said in an interview. This is the first time Chomps has raised money via outside private equity firms. The Naples, Florida-based company’s run rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $100 million in retail revenue, suggesting annual sales at that level if it can sustain the performance. 

Chomps is benefiting from several food industry trends. Demand for protein-rich and convenient foods is growing, with U.S. sales of meat-based snacks climbing 9.7% in 2020, according to Beth Bloom, associate director of food and drink at Mintel Reports US. At the same time, consumers are watching their intake of sugar, sodium and artificial ingredients and increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their food choices. Chomps’ jerky products use pasture-raised meats and include certifications for the Keto, Paleo and Whole30 diets, as well as animal welfare.

“This is animal protein you can feel really good about,” Juan Marcos Hill, a partner at Stride, said in an interview. Stride has also backed consumer brands including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Brew Dr. Kombucha, according to its website

Chomps intends to use Stride’s investment to expand into fiber-focused snacks and expand its distribution capabilities, Maldonado said. Chomps’ jerky is currently sold online and in more than 18,000 retail locations including Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods Market. Maldonado said he and co-founder Rashid Ali aim to get more Chomps products on the shelves of existing grocery partners and build new relationships with retailers focused on natural foods.

“We see this, from a timing perspective, as an opportunity to strike while the iron’s hot,” Maldonado said. “We have a huge opportunity in front of us to not only grab market share in meat snacks, but in snacking in general.”

William Blair & Co., Piper Sandler Cos. and Giannuzzi Lewendon advised Chomps on the transaction.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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