Following VSI Acquisition, Hearthside Seeks ‘Creative’ iba Solutions – Baking Business Interview

MUNICH, GERMANY – iba 2015 show – Rich Scalise, Hearthside Food Solutions founder and Chairman, is on a mission at iba 2015. Already the US largest bar producer and largest contract manufacturer, Hearthside Foods’ VSI acquisition earlier this year also makes Hearthside a player in growing European bar market. The VSI acquisition adds three bar production facilities to the Hearthside network, extensive R&D and product development capabilities and its first EU production facilities.

At this year’s iba show in Munich, Rich Scalise and his team continue to scan the industry for new and better ways to add value. The EU baking business is a fertile source of innovative practices that the company can adapt or adopt into their world class manufacturing network.

In a live interview with Rich Scalise by Dan Malovany of Baking Business, the chairman of Hearthside food solutions discusses the VSI acquisition, the expansion of Hearthside into Europe, the evolving contract manufacturing, and contract packaging industry, and how consumer preference drives the entire food industry.

Hearthside searches for ‘creative’ solutions at iba | Baking Business | Baking Industry News and Opinions

For Rich Scalise, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearthside Food Solutions, attending iba 2015 for the first time has new meaning since the Downers Grove, Ill.-based company agreed to acquire VSI, Leerdam, The Netherlands, from NPM Capital in August. VSI, which is the largest European producer of nutrition, diet and functional bars, expanded Hearthside’s presence in the bar category beyond North America.

“Our acquisition is around energy and nutrition bars, and there is a lot of crossover between the two companies,” he noted. “It’s not about regional tastes and profiles as much as it is about consumer trends.”

When it comes to health and wellness, he added, those trends are burgeoning globally. Along with the acquisition of VSI, the purchase of a former PowerBar production facility in Boise, Idaho, will allow Hearthside to rapidly scale up VSI’s formulations and product development to full-scale production in the Americas. At iba, Mr. Scalise is searching for “new creative approaches” to bring product innovation to both the European and North American markets.

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