Sonoma Brands, a private equity investor and incubator led by Jon Sebastiani, who is also the founder and creative force behind KRAVE jerky, has acquired KRAVE from The Hershey Co. for an undisclosed amount.
KRAVE gained a cult following from its inception in 2009, resulting in the brand’s acquisition by The Hershey Co. in 2015. KRAVE has continued to stand out in the protein category with innovative products and flavors. The brand’s portfolio currently features KRAVE Meat Cuts, KRAVE Pork Rinds and KRAVE Plant-Based Jerky, the brand’s most recent launch.
With KRAVE coming back under Sonoma Brands’ guidance, Sebastiani expects brand innovation to continue.
“I have always had a great relationship with The Hershey Co. and watched them grow KRAVE,” he said. “From expanding KRAVE’s product offerings to dipping into the plant-based category and increasing worldwide distribution, KRAVE is in a great spot to come back home to Sonoma where we can continue the brand's fantastic momentum as a category leader.”
Sebastiani began his career in the family wine business, where he cultivated a connection to the Sonoma region. Following the sale of KRAVE, Sebastiani formed Sonoma Brands. The company developed other successful brands including SMASHMALLOW premium snackable marshmallows, SMASHGUMMY low-sugar gummies and PECKISH perfectly boiled eggs.
As a private equity investor, Sonoma Brands has also made strategic investments in Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, Hum Nutrition vitamins and supplements, Beekeeper’s Naturals health solutions, Hu Products plant-based chocolate, Guayaki yerba mate, Versed cruelty free skincare and True Botanicals non-toxic personal care, among others.
“KRAVE is a great brand with a loyal fanbase who appreciate its innovative gourmet flavors and culinary roots tracing back to its origins in Sonoma, Calif.,” said Hector de la Barreda, president, Amplify Snack Brands. “We look forward to its success with a different go-to-market model under the guidance of founder Jon Sebastiani.”