Swander Pace acquires Asian food specialist Fine Choice Foods

U.S. consumer private equity firm Swander Pace Capital has acquired Fine Choice Foods, a Richmond, British Columbia-based developer, maker and distributor of fresh and frozen Asian-flavoured appetizers.

No financial terms were released.

Founded in 1986 by the Lui family, Fine Choice’s products, including items under its Sum-m! brand, are distributed through retail and food service channels in Canada and the United States.

Michael Axelrod, head of U.S.-based Passport Food Group, acquired last year by Swander Pace, will serve as Fine Choice’s CEO.

Swander Pace, which has an office in Toronto, invested in Fine Choice through SPC Partners VI, which raised US$510 million in 2016.

Last week, Swander Pace sold Recochem Inc, a Montréal-based maker of aftermarket transportation and household fluids, to HIG Capital.


Swander Pace Capital Acquires Fine Choice Foods

Deal Marks Firm’s Latest Addition to Globally-Flavored Foods Portfolio

SAN FRANCISCO & RICHMOND, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Swander Pace Capital, a leading private equity firm specializing in investments in consumer product companies, today announced that it has acquired Fine Choice Foods, a leading developer, manufacturer, and distributor of fresh and frozen Asian-flavored appetizers to retail and foodservice channels in Canada and the U.S.

Since its founding in 1986, Fine Choice has grown from a small, family-run store on Vancouver’s Cambie Street to become one of the largest and most recognized providers of on-trend international foods. The company’s products, which include items sold under its Sum-m! brand, enjoy a wide distribution network among prominent North American retailers, including Costco, Loblaws, and Sobeys, as well as select foodservice customers. In addition, the company has a leading position in the refrigerated appetizers category, which is one of the fastest growing segments in the category.

“As a leader in one of the fastest growing segments of an already dynamic industry, Fine Choice is a very attractive investment for us,” said Heather Smith Thorne, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “What’s more, the company’s ability to bring innovative, Asian-inspired flavors to a diverse marketplace–using clean, high-quality, natural ingredients–has earned Fine Choice a strong distribution footprint and high customer loyalty.”

The acquisition represents Swander Pace Capital’s second recent investment in the space. In 2017, the firm acquired Passport Food Group, a California-based developer, marketer and distributor of globally-inspired appetizer, noodle and wrap products to the foodservice and retail channels. Passport Food Group is led by Michael Axelrod, who will also serve as CEO of Fine Choice Foods.

“The team at Swander Pace possesses a strong grasp of changing consumer tastes and preferences,” said Axelrod. “They have a proven track record in providing consumer companies the guidance and resources they need to perform at the highest levels. We look forward to working alongside the current Fine Choice team to build on the Company’s impressive legacy and grow the business through organic growth and acquisitions.”

“The decision to add Fine Choice to our portfolio was a highly strategic one,” added Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital. “As consumer tastes become wider and more varied, there is tremendous opportunity to build a clear leader in high-quality, on-trend, international cuisine—especially in the prepared and refrigerated category. Fine Choice Foods is an exceptional complement to our existing investments in the space, which will continue to remain a major focal point for us as it expands.”

The investment in Fine Choice was made from Swander Pace’s Fund VI. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

About Swander Pace

Swander Pace Capital (SPC) is a private equity firm that invests in companies that are integral to consumers’ lives. SPC’s consumer industry expertise informs the firm’s strategic approach and adds value through access to its proven SPC Playbook, senior team, and extensive network. The firm partners with management teams to help build companies to their full potential. SPC invests in businesses across three domains of consumer lifestyles: Food + Beverage, Body + Wellness, and Home + Family. With offices in San Francisco, New Jersey, and Toronto, SPC has invested in more than 45 companies and raised cumulative equity commitments of approximately $1.8 billion since 1996. For more information, visit www.spcap.com

About Fine Choice Foods

Fine Choice Foods is based in Richmond, British Columbia, and has been dedicated to delivering quality Asian foods to the North American Market since 1986. Specializing in hand-rolled spring rolls, gyoza, wontons and more, the company manufactures product out of its state-of-the-art facility where it employs over 150 people.

LANE, a Finn Partners Company
Sean Mogle, 212-593-5801