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Acosta Boosts Specialty Services With Impact Group Acquisition

Specialty Food Association

Acosta will expand its presence in the specialty food space with the planned acquisition of Impact Group, a national sales and marketing agency with expertise in natural, specialty, ethnic, and emerging brands.

Acosta said it will integrate its own Natural and Specialty Sales division with Impact Group to create a separate business unit to provide solutions for brands in these categories.

“Acosta and Impact Group provide highly complementary services, and this acquisition will add scale, expand service offerings, and create new opportunities for our existing clients,” Brian Wynne, CEO of Acosta, told SFA News Daily. “Uniting Impact Group with Acosta’s Natural and Specialty Sales business enables us to leverage the strengths of two high-performing company cultures, while adding new capabilities for our customers.”

He said that Impact Group’s strength in regional markets and its established retailer relationships, combined with Acosta’s own strengths, could benefit specialty food makers.

“Impact Group’s expertise in emerging natural and specialty brands also adds dimension to Acosta’s long history of growing both new and established brands,” said Wynne. “By providing local market proficiency and a distribution solution that gives emerging brands access to the shelves of major retail chains, our combined resources will give specialty brands of all sizes the opportunity to thrive.”

Acosta said it will integrate three of Impact Group’s business units: the sales and marketing agency that provides sales, marketing, analytics, and retail support for CPG manufacturers; the specialized sales business operating at retailers in urban markets; and Impact Group’s dedicated distribution capability for emerging brands.

Wynne said Impact Group also offers a “highly differentiated national confection solution.”

Impact Group also operates Arlowe Specialty Foods, a national distributor of specialty food products that focuses on small food makers that may not have enough volume to justify individual shipments to retailers’ warehouses, according to Impact’s website. Arlowe consolidates products from multiple manufacturers to make retail warehouse distribution more efficient, the company said.

In addition, Impact Group operates E.A. Berg, a branded mobile van-based sales and merchandising service serving more than 46,000 retail locations in urban markets.

Acosta, the nation’s largest sales and marketing firm, brings its own suite of business intelligence tools, along with established marketing solutions that include shopper marketing programs, custom marketing events, and experiential programs. It also brings omnichannel capabilities that include digital shelf optimization, digital brand awareness creation, analytics, and other services.

“We are looking forward to joining Acosta and bringing our complementary expertise in the natural, specialty, ethnic, and emerging brands categories,” said Matt Buskirk, president of Impact Group, in a statement. “The small and mid-size companies that dominate this space have seen explosive growth recently, and we are pleased that we will be able to bring an even greater value to these clients utilizing Acosta’s broad range of expanded capabilities.”

Wynne said that Acosta and Impact Group plan to “thoughtfully integrate” their operations in the coming months.

“Impact Group’s organizational structure and ways of working will remain the same for the near future,” he said.

Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close this month, were not disclosed.

The acquisition follows Acosta’s purchase last month of Core Group to form Core Foodservice, an agency focused on providing solutions for the foodservice industry.

Related: Acosta Reveals CPG Predictions for 2021Report: Most Shoppers Will Keep Some Pre-Pandemic Habits.

Image: Acosta