Florida Food Products (FFP), Eustis, Fla., said it will acquire Comax Manufacturing Corp., a Melville, N.Y.-based provider of clean-label flavor solutions focused on the beverage and nutrition markets. Under the stewardship of the Calabretta family, Comax has grown to become one of the largest providers of natural flavors in the United States since its founding in 1977. Comax formulates natural ingredients that replace synthetic flavors and maintains a portfolio of nearly 1,000 natural flavor SKUs.

According to FFP, Comax will continue to operate its Melville manufacturing facility and develop formulations in its Marlton, N.J., research and development (R&D) facility. The Calabretta family will maintain an equity position in the combined business.   

“We are thrilled to welcome Comax to the FFP family and to partner with the Calabretta family. Comax has built an impressive portfolio of natural flavors, which we intend to augment with FFP’s industry leading extraction, drying and fermentation capabilities”, said FFP’s CEO Jim Holdrieth. “Our acquisition of Comax represents our first major investment of the Ardian and MidOcean partnership and accelerates our objective of becoming the industry’s largest independent provider of natural ingredients.”

Earlier this year, private equity firm Ardian and alternative asset manager MidOcean announced a partnership to accelerate FFP’s strategic roadmap through increased investment in R&D and the completion of strategic acquisitions, FFP said.

“We are excited to partner with the FFP, Ardian and MidOcean teams, who share our belief that natural ingredients provide consumers with healthier options while offering our customers high-quality alternatives to traditional, synthetic ingredients,” said Peter Calabretta Jr., Comax’s CEO. “This partnership gives Comax access to new technologies, ingredients and distribution that will accelerate the existing Comax business and provide more solutions and capabilities for our valued customers.”