Roland Foods Acquires ifiGOURMET in Illinois

Roland Foods, a premium foods importer based in New York, United States, acquired ifiGOURMET, a global importer and distributor of high-quality frozen food, culinary ingredients, and dessert products based in Illinois, United States, on August 21, 2023. Roland Foods, a portfolio company of private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, acquired ifiGourmet to bolster Albert Uster Imports, better known as AUI Fine Foods, its sweets imports division.

Transaction Summary

Our Take on the Acquisition

Roland Foods (acquirer) has expanded its dessert product portfolio with the acquisition of ifiGOURMET (target), which has a more comprehensive dessert products and ingredients portfolio. With this acquisition, Albert Uster Imports (AUI), the sweets imports division of Roland Foods, will combine their years of experience and expertise with that of ifiGourmet to offer an even more extensive selection of premium gourmet ingredients of uncompromising quality. Roland Foods acquired AUI Fine Foods in January 2019 and has a team of pastry chefs and seasoned professionals in both their R&D and sales teams who offer valuable insights and assistance to culinary professionals in the field. According to ifiGourmet, “In the coming months, we will provide updates on the integration process and any changes that may enhance our customers’ experience.”

The Facts of the Acquisition

  • Target: ifiGOURMET is an importer and master distributor of chocolate, fine desserts, flavorings, savory products, and culinary ingredients from around the world. It services the professional culinary industry as well as individual customers in the United States. With two U.S. distribution centers in Chicago and San Francisco, ifiGOURMET serves more than 1,500 in-store bakeries, restaurant chains, and foodservice customers nationwide.
  • Acquirer: Roland Foods, a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners, has been importing premium food ingredients for more than 85 years. It offers more than 2,400 products sourced from more than 40 countries and serves food retailers, restaurants, and foodservice distributors in the United States. Roland Foods is the parent company of AUI Fine Foods, which they plan to integrate with ifiGourmet.

The Transaction

Date:August 21, 2023
Purpose: To expand Roland Foods’ product portfolio and offer ifiGourmet the resources and connections necessary to keep growing.
Acquirer’s Statement:Keith Dougherty, CEO of Roland Foods – “This strategic acquisition will strengthen AUI Fine Foods’ (Roland Foods’ sweets division) footprint in the key Chicago and San Francisco markets and expand our sweet product offering, which will allow us to better serve existing and new customers nationwide. We believe tremendous opportunities exist in the gourmet food and ingredients market today, and the addition of the ifiGOURMET team will better position Roland Foods for growth.”

Target/Seller: ifiGOURMET

Company Information

Industry: Importer – Dessert Products
Employees:28 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:Head Office: 760 Lakeside Drive, Unit A, Gurnee, Illinois, United States
Regional Office: 360 Harbor Way, South San Francisco, California, United States

Product Information 

Products:Chocolate: Chocolate decor, topping, sticks, chips, and coatings
Pastry: Tart shells, puff, and speciality pastry
Flavoring: Baking flavors, extracts, pastes, and syrups
Frozen Desserts and Pastries: Frozen dough, pastries, pies, and cakes
Savory Products: Frozen entrees, appetizers, soups, and vinegar
Dessert Mixes, Preparation, and Baking: Mixes, meal, and flour
Fruit Products: Fruit puree, beverages, syrups, and fillings
Sugar, Caramel, and Fondant: Sugar, sweeteners, caramel, and pastes
Topping and Filling: Glaze, nut products, and fillings
Technical Ingredients: Fruit acid, gelatin, pectin, and stablizing agents
Colorants: Various food grade colorants
Banquet and Catering: Decorations, tools, and disposable materials
Gelato, Ice Cream, and Sorbet: Sauces, flavoring, and bases
Brands (over 35 brands) including:Dream Cakes: A Chicago-based wholesale cake manufacturer created by the married pastry chef team of Veronica Cañete-Kwasigroch and Mark Kwasigroch.
Luker Chocolate: A family-owned manufacturer of fine chocolate couvertures in Bogota, Colombia, they are one of the world’s largest producers of chocolates made exclusively from fine flavor cacao beans of the Trinitario variety.
ifigourmet: ifiGourmet’s own line of high-quality basic and specialty ingredients, including frozen pastries, specialty sugars, pastry shells, chocolate, and vanilla.
Pomone: A family-owned business in the Loire Valley of France, they have been growing fruit for over five generations. After hiring a master chocolate maker in 2001, Pomone has been creating high-quality chocolate desserts in the purest French tradition.
Acai Roots: Founded in 2005 in San Diego, CA, their products contain 100% organic Brazilian açaí, harvested in the Amazon using sustainable practices. Acai Roots continues to develop new products like their açaí sorbet and açaí kombucha.
Market Reach:United States

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $6.2 million (Unconfirmed source: ZoomInfo)
Revenue per Employee:USD $221,429 (i.e., USD $6.2 million / 28 employees = USD $221,429 – estimated based on the self-published number of employees and revenue from ZoomInfo)

Did You Know?

For home cooks and aspiring pastry chefs, ifiGourmet has an online retail division for the general public called ifiGourmet Provisions. There, customers can buy their products, find recipes, explore their brands, read their blog and FAQ sections, and contact them for more information. Customers can also find discount codes to apply at the checkout and join their mailing list for the latest updates and special offers. They break their products into categories, including best sellers, ingredients, all-natural colorants, chocolate cups and vessels, dessert mixes, chocolate products, fruit, flavorings, ready-to-fill pastry, sugar decor, powders, and sauces.

Target/Seller Overview: ifiGOURMET

ifiGOURMET is an importer and distributor of gourmet dessert products, frozen foods, and culinary ingredients from around the world. The company sources high-quality dessert ingredients for producing professional pastries, bakery items, chocolate, candy, and ice cream products from France, Belgium, Holland, Columbia, and Spain. With two B2B warehouse locations in Nevada and California, ifiGOURMET services all of the United States through third-party independent, regional and national distributors. The Illinois location services order for ifiProvisions. Their sweets import division is Albert Uster Imports, better known as AUI Fine Foods. Based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, AUI has been importing specialty pastry, bakery, and confectionery products to professional chefs and bakers for 50 years, sourcing from over 150 global suppliers, including Felchlin, HUG, Ponthier, Laderach, and PCB Creation.

ifiGOURMET is an importer of fine desserts, culinary ingredients, and frozen foods.

Buyer/Acquirer: Roland Foods

Company Information

Buyer:Roland Foods
Industry: Importer – Food Products
Employees:167 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Type:Private with private equity funding
Total Funding:USD $125 million
Investor:Vestar Capital Partners: A middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments based in New York, United States. Since its inception in 1988, the firm has invested over USD $11 billion in 91 companies, including Birds Eye, Solo, Celestial Seasonings, and Michael Foods.
Harvest Partners Structured Capital: A non-control private equity firm based in New York, United States, that invests in middle market companies, including Gehl Foods, Tacala, 8th Avenue Food & Provisions, and GPM Investments LLC.
Locations:Head Office: 71 West 23rd Street, 12th Floor, New York, United States
Storage Warehouse: 1 Industrial Road, Suite 1999, Dayton, New Jersey, United States

Product Information 

Products:Vegetables: Artichokes, capers, jackfruits, water chestnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes
Grains, Rice, and Legume: Assorted rice, quinoa, oats, assorted lentils, beans, and chickpeas
Noodles and Pasta: Rice sticks, asssorted noodles, pasta, ramen, and couscous
Oils, Vinegar, and Glazes: Cooking wine, cooking oils, and assorted vinegars
Condiments, Sauces, and Spreads: Chutneys, jellies, jams, toppings, sauces, spreads, and purees
Seafood and Proteins: Anchovies, snails, oyster, crab, and mackerel
Fruits: Canned fruit, coconut milk, cherries, and others
Spices, Seasonings, and Coatings: Sesame seeds, garlic cloves, truffle peelings, sea salt, saffron, wasabi products, and seaweed
Crackers, Snacks, and Nuts: Assorted crackers, roasted chestnuts, and flatbreads
Desserts and Pastry: Puree, chocolate, sweet syrup, sauces, sweeteners, and pastry shells
Market Reach:United States

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $84.4 million (Unconfirmed source: ZoomInfo)
Revenue per Employee:USD $505,389 (i.e., USD $84.4 million / 167 employees = USD $505,389 – estimated based on the self-published number of employees and revenue from ZoomInfo)

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: Roland Foods

Since 1934, Roland Foods has been importing premium, high-quality global ingredients. It offers a portfolio of over 2,400 products sourced from 40 countries worldwide and serves food retailers, restaurants, and foodservice distributors. The company is backed by private equity firms Vestar Capital Partners and Harvest Partners Structured Capital, which invested USD $125 million into the company in 2013.

Roland Foods offers more than 2,400 items
Roland Foods imports food products from more than 40 countries – shown in the dark areas on the map.

Previous Acquisitions by Roland Foods

  • AUI Fine Foods (2019) – A food and beverage company offering desserts, savory, and beverage products based in Maryland, United States.


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