Akoya Capital Expands Their Food Evolution Platform Investment with the Acquisition of Fresh & Ready Foods, Inc.

January 26, 2016, Chicago – Food Evolution LLC, a platform company of Akoya Capital Partners and its partners Balance Point Capital and Plexus Capital, has acquired Fresh & Ready Foods, Inc. the first add-on to the Food Evolution platform and a significant step in expanding the combined company’s geographic and end market reach. The acquisition enhances Food Evolution’s strong capabilities in the fresh prepared, grab-n-go food category.

Fresh & Ready Foods, headquartered in San Fernando, CA, and with another facility in Las Vegas, NV, is a producer of fresh salads, sandwiches, box lunches, baked goods, sides, snacks and other prepared food products. The company sells primarily to food service companies, hotels, convention centers, hospitals, universities, airports and retailers across the Western United States.

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Food Evolution is a leading producer of gourmet, fresh-prepared, grab-n-go sandwiches, wraps, salads and side dishes for numerous channels, including retail, food service, airports, and universities.

Lou Nieto, Akoya Managing Director and Consumer Foods Sector Leader, serves as Executive Chairman of the combined company and Ralph Denisco will serve as the Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Nieto, former President of ConAgra Consumer Foods, stated, “We are excited about this strategic add-on acquisition for Food Evolution. The combined company represents a national footprint for its distribution and is extremely well positioned to take advantage of the positive trends in the fresh prepared foods industry.”

Ralph Denisco, the CEO of Food Evolution added, “The superior reputation, culinary capabilities, upscale presentation and supply responsiveness of the combined businesses creates a strong position in the fast growing fresh prepared, grab-n-go food category.”

Mr. Denisco has over 40 years of experience in Frozen, Refrigerated, Food Service and Deli food categories. Mr. Denisco’s prior experience includes serving as President & CEO of Columbus Foods, President & COO of World Kitchen, Inc., and President of Nestle Ice Cream Company, among other senior executive positions within the food industry.

Fresh & Ready Foods is the first add-on acquisition for Food Evolution and Akoya’s third transaction in the Consumer Foods segment.

The changing demographics and societal trends driving the Consumer Foods space make it a very attractive area for investment. We are seeking platform companies in the target segments below, including, but not limited to:

  • Frozen or refrigerated products
  • Hispanic or Asian foods focus
  • Natural and/or “Better for You” products
  • Consumed as part of a snacking occasion

Investment Criteria & Characteristics: Platform Companies – Consumer Foods

  • Enterprise value from $20 to $100 million
  • Minimum EBITDA of $3 million
  • Food Service or Private Label
  • Strong brand

We will consider smaller companies on a selective basis or as an add-on acquisition. In addition to Consumer Foods, Akoya seeks investment opportunities in the following sectors:

  • Specialty Chemicals
  • Professional Information Services
  • Consumer Products
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • Industrial Distribution

About Akoya

Akoya Capital is a sector focused investment firm that creates and nurtures partnerships between management and capital. With industry leading sector leaders, proprietary platform organizations, experienced management teams and co-investors, we collaborate on compelling value creation opportunities. Together, we develop and execute industry sector acquisition strategies that deliver significant, measurable value for management, partners and shareholders.

Contact Us

If you know of a company that fits this profile, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you. Please contact Jason Apple at 312-546-8301 (