Nestlé is buying Canadian vitamin maker Atrium Innovations – owner of the USDA Organic and Non-GMO certified Garden of Life brand – in a deal worth $2.3bn.
Atrium has an increasing presence on the global natural and organic stage and is one of the fastest growing supplements companies in the world. Its other brands include Pure Encapsulations and Wobenzym.
Nestlé says that Atrium’s brands and business model has a natural fit with its own “science-based nutritional solutions for consumers, patients, doctors, nurses and other partners in healthcare”. Atrium will become an independent operating division within the Nestlé Health Science business when the deal closes.
Atrium’s biggest and best-known brand Garden of Life says it is “thrilled” to be part of Nestlé. In a statement on the company’s website, its president, Brian Ray, says: “This combination signals that USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified nutrition, based on real, whole and plant-based foods, has a seat at the world’s largest tables.
“I spent time getting to know the people at Nestlé, their vision and their values. I saw first-hand how much we have in common. They have no plans to change us — what we do, what we stand for or what we believe. Our commitment to truly traceable practices, proven through third-party certifications — Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, NSF and Informed Choice Certified, and most of all, B CORP — is foundational to who we are. Nestlé sees our value and wants to help us as we pursue our mission.”
The Swiss Food multinational already sells nutritional products through conventional medical channnels through its Nestlé Health Science division. This latest acquisition is seen as a signal of its ambition to become a major player in the could consumer nutrition, health and wellness category.
Some influential industry commentators are reading the sale as a positive indicator for the nutritional supplements sector generally. “They’ve been trying to articulate a message around Nestle Health Science and health and wellness for some time,” Analyst Robert Waldschmidt told Reuters. “In terms of nutrition, this makes sense.”
But many Garden Of Life customers don’t see the deal in the same positive light and thousands them have already taken to social media to express disappointment over the sale.
The Garden of Life brand has recently been introduced into the UK through London-based Kinetic Natural Products Distributor.