Osaka, Japan-based Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. will acquire TCHO Ventures, Inc., a San Francisco-area, award-winning craft chocolate company.
TCHO was founded in 2005 by Timothy Childs, a technology and chocolate entrepreneur who once developed vision systems for NASA's Space Shuttle program and Karl Bittong, a 40-plus year veteran of the chocolate industry. The company built its reputation on producing chocolates from fine-flavored cocoa beans, using a mix of old and new processing technologies.
Over the years, TCHO has earned strong brand recognition in the premium chocolate sector, especially among Millennials, with its award-winning packaging and innovative flavor combinations, such as Mint Chip Gelato and Mokkacino.
With the U.S. chocolate market at $18.9 billion annually, Ezaki Glico viewed TCHO as a means to “enhance its chocolate business” by tapping into the U.S. premium chocolate sector.
Ezaki Glico, which has 11 business locations and 23 group companies in Japan and 12 subsidiaries in nine countries, launched its first product, the Glico caramel, in 1922. Since then, it has expanded into other food sectors, including ice cream products, processed foods, desserts, milk products, baby formula, food ingredients and ingredients for cosmetic and health products.
The company posted JPY 353.2 billion ($2.77 billion) in fiscal year 2016. Its U.S. subsidiary, Ezaki Glico USA Corp., was founded in February 2003 in Irvine, Calif., and sells products such as Pocky and PRETZ.