Hawaiian Host, the leading chocolate-covered macadamia nut producer, has finalized its acquisition of Mauna Loa, a macadamia nut processor, from The Hershey Co.
Mauna Loa joins Hawaiian Host as an official subsidiary, and together they will have more than 300 employees in Hawaii.
“Both Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa will continue as distinct, separate brands, offering the same level of quality products our customers have grown to expect,” says Keith Sakamoto, president and chief ceo of Hawaiian Host.
The brands will complement each other, he says. While Hawaiian Host will continue its emphasis on chocolate macadamia products, Mauna Loa will emphasize salted macadamias and other macadamia snack products.
Both will continue their commitments to support local growers and farmers.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Hawaiian Host. We not only look forward to welcoming Mauna Loa and its employees to our family, but together, building on our long legacies of sharing our high-quality Hawaiian products with the world,” adds Sakamoto.
Mauna Loa began in 1946 with its first macadamia nut trees, planted in Kea'au, just south of Hilo, where its current facilities sit on 136 acres. It is one of the largest and most experienced macadamia nut processors, with the seasonal capacity to process 40 million lbs. of macadamia nuts.
Hawaiian Host, meanwhile, was founded by Mamoru Takitani, a third-generation Japanese descendant with dreams of making candy. He moved to Honolulu, purchased local confectioner Ellen Dye Candies and renamed it Hawaiian Host.
Since then, the company has become "Hawaii's Gift to the World," and is the leader in chocolate-covered macadamia products, producing more than 250 confections and selling in 23 countries.
Hawaiian Host also supports the Mamoru & Aiko Takitani Foundation, which provides grants and academic scholarships to the Hawaiian community. Since its inception, the Foundation has given more than $2 million in scholarships to eligible high schools in Hawaii.