May 19, 2021

Farmer Direct Organic, which supplies legumes, seeds and grains to 2,000 retailers in North America, has been bought by Above Food.

Officials say the deal connects two companies with similar ethical approaches and, according to a statement, it comes as Farmer Direct Organic (FDO) looks to expand its retail distribution to 10,000 outlets.

Martin Williams, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Above Food Brands, which is based in Regina in Canada, said in the statement that he “couldn’t be more excited” about the deal.

“FDO’s distribution and retail relationships add a completely new dimension to our portfolio approach for Above Food Brands, including the ability to deliver differentiated branded and private-label solutions across many product segments,” he said.

Above Food, which was founded in 2019 and specialises in “sustainably grown plant-based ingredients and foods”, has a distribution network that encompasses 35 countries and 300 customers.

Based in Moose Jaw in Canada, FDO buys produce from family farms in the United States and Canada. The company was launched in its present guise in 2018, but was originally started by Jason Freeman, the current CEO, as Farmer Direct Co-op in 2002.

In 2016, Freeman left to set up another company, only to rejoin two years later when he bought the Farmer Direct Co-op brand and relaunched it as Farmer Direct Organic. He will remain with the company and become Above Food’s Director of Organic Supply.

Freeman said there was “a great philosophical alignment” on the ethics and responsibilities of food producers between the companies.

“With Above Food’s pedigree in scaled production and advanced ingredient processing, the combination of our companies and cultures will be synergistic,” he said.

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