Katadyn N.A. acquires camping food brands Natural High, Richmoor, AlpineAire

Katadyn, well-known for its water filters, is adding food to its camp kitchen in North America, acquiring the Natural High, Richmoor, AlpineAire and Gourmet Reserves brands from TyRy Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
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Katadyn, well-known for its water filters, is adding food to its camp kitchen in North America.

The North American wholly-owned subsidiary of the Swiss brand announced Friday it is acquiring the dehydrated and freeze-dried food brands Natural High, Richmoor, AlpineAire and Gourmet Reserves from TyRy Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition will broaden Katadyn North American’s camp kitchen portfolio, which also includes Optimus Stoves that it purchased in 2007.

“It completes the same product mix that we have in Europe,” said Shawn Hostetter, president of Katadyn North America and the newly formed Katadyn North America Foods. “Retailers and customers can now come to one source for their camp kitchen needs including water filtration, stoves and accessories, and food.”

In Europe, Katadyn acquired Trek ‘n Eat foods in 2004, and has since been on the lookout for a similar acquisition in North America, Hostetter said. Katadyn found that fit in TyRy Foods, owned by Don Gearing, who brought together several well-known names in the camping food industry over the years.

Gearing will remain with the company on a contract basis, and Katadyn North America Foods will take over TyRy’s offices and manufacturing facilities in Rocklin, Calif., keeping the location and its 35-40 employees. Hostetter said Katadyn will improve manufacturing capabilities there, introducing Kaizen practices, a method of lean manufacturing best known for its use in the Japanese auto industry.

TyRy recently moved to the new space in Rocklin, outside Sacramento, tripling its space to 40,000 square feet. Katadyn North America, based in Minneapolis, recently increased its space by 30 percent to a new 20,000-square-foot location, where it employs 20 people. And Katadyn’s global headquarters, in Zurich, Switzerland, recently tripled its size with a new production facility. Worldwide, the Katadyn Group employs nearly 170 people, including this latest acquisition.

All the growth is being spurred by increased demand, despite a slow economy. “When times get tough, water filters and dehydrated foods sell really well,” Hostetter said.

And the company continues to be in acquisition mode, he said. “This isn’t the last acquisition we’ll make. We’ll continue to focus on the same product mix we have today that’s backpacking and camping oriented.”

At the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Katadyn will join its newly acquired food brands in TyRy’s former booth, and the group plans for a larger combined booth at Summer Market.

Retailers can place orders with the new Katadyn North America Foods starting Nov. 2, and Katadyn’s dedicated rep force will take on the foods’ sales and support.

Friday's deal between Katadyn and TyRy adds to a growing list of mergers and acquisitions within the outdoor industry this year.

--David Clucas

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