Riverside Co. invests in Nustef Foods

The firm plans to expand production and distribution of Nustef’s Reko brand pizzelles, an Italian-inspired waffle cookie.

Mid-market private equity firm The Riverside Company has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Nustef Foods, a Canadian manufacturer of waffle cookies. Capital for the investment came from the company’s flagship Riverside Capital Appreciation Fund VI, which closed on $1.5 billion in 2014.

Riverside senior food and beverage advisor Richard Lan told Agri Investor that the firm will concentrate on developing new products and expanding distribution from specialty stores into a greater number of mainstream supermarkets. In addition, the company plans to add at least two new ovens this year to Nustef’s eight existing ovens, with plans to add more in the years ahead as demand requires.

Founded in 1985, Ontario, Canada-based Nustef provides Italian-inspired ‘pizzelle’ waffles and crackers to North American grocery, club and foodservice customers under the Reko brand. “The consumer is really looking for something that is unique, something that has a bit of sex appeal,” Lan said. “Cookies are becoming a bit more of a mosaic, with people wanting to try new things and this is something new for most people.”

The Riverside Company is a lower mid-market private equity firm with more than $5 billion in assets under management. Founded in 1988, the firm typically invests with businesses valued up to $400 million and it maintains offices throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions.

Other food-related investments in its portfolio include Tate’s Bake Shop, Uinta Brewing Company and Yummy Earth, which provides natural and organic snacks.