Japanese Baker Taguchi Acquires U.S. Private Label Desserts Manufacturer Brooklyn Brands

Food & Drink

Consumer-focused advisory firm and merchant bank, Astor Group, has sold its portfolio Brooklyn Brands to leading Japanese baker Taguchi & Co. for eight figures, in a move that will broaden both entities’ North American and global presence.

Founded by Seth Zalkin and Mickey Klein of Astor Group in 2015 to acquire underdeveloped, yet fast-growing Brooklyn-based bakeries, Brooklyn Brands has grown to producing private-label products for 10,000 retailers nationwide, including Kroger
KR
, Albertsons
ACI
, Whole Foods, Publix, Stop & Shop, Costco and Wegmans.

Brooklyn Brands also operates premium baked goods brand Lilly’s Baking Co. that the company claims to see its sales grow 26% year-over-year in 2022, and over 155% during the four-year period leading up to Covid.

Zalkin wrote me via email: “Taguchi has been selling Japanese desserts to Asian retailers in the U.S. market for several years and was examining the competitive set when they came across Brooklyn Brands. The quality, authenticity and unique product set stood out, and they decided to pursue an acquisition,”

“Taguchi will enable Brooklyn Brands to leverage a dedicated R&D team in Japan and has already identified meaningful resources for U.S. operations. Its manufacturing expertise is unparalleled, and Taguchi will be investing significant resources in new equipment so Brooklyn Brands can make more and more innovative products,” he added. “For Taguchi, Brooklyn Brands will provide a platform to introduce its superlative Asian baked goods to the North America market and will offer a beachhead to build a significant U.S. platform.”

Zalkin and Klein, alongside COO John Gibson and the leadership team, will continue to work with Taguchi to oversee Brooklyn Brands’ operations from their New York headquarters upon closing the deal. In the coming months, Brooklyn Brands will focus on expanding across food service and convenience channels prior to introducing a new millennial-driven brand in 2024.

“The goal [for Taguchi] is to build a 10-figure platform through acquisitions and organic growth. The Company is actively seeking additional acquisitions that provide similar or adjacent product categories in both in-store-bakeries and grocery, intellectual property and manufacturing facilities,” Zalkin said. “We are bullish on the bakery industry and are actively looking for new opportunities to work with exceptional entrepreneurs and companies.”

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