Minneapolis, MN—General Mills, Inc. announced that it has acquired EPIC Provisions, a meat snacks company based in Austin, TX. 

Launched in 2013 by Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest, EPIC carries paleo-friendly meat-based protein bars, jerky and trail mix, sourced from organic grass fed and free range animals. The company will continue to be headed by the co-founders and will now operate under Annie’s, Inc., a natural and organic foods company owned by General Mills since 2014. The terms and value of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

“A purpose-driven brand like EPIC perfectly aligns with the experience and capabilities set that Annie’s brings to the table,” Annie’s President John Foraker said in a press statement. “We’re committed to maintaining the great-tasting EPIC snacks people love, while further building this important brand to drive positive impact we can be proud of well into the future.”

General Mills is currently the fourth largest natural and organic food manufacturer in the U.S. Its natural foods portfolio, featuring the brands LÄRABAR, Liberté, Mountain High, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking and Annie’s, posted sales of almost $700 million in fiscal 2015 with a double-digit growth rate, according to the company.

EPIC co-founders Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest. Photo courtesy EPIC Provisions.In a blog post announcing the acquisition, co-founders Collins and Forrest gave further explanation for their sale of the company, emphasizing General Mills as a “strategic partner” whose resources will allow EPIC to grow while allowing it to continue “adhering to our fundamental principles”:

"Our decision to sell EPIC to General Mills will exponentially influence large-scale grassland restoration, further create a need for pasture raised animals, as well as increase the availability of our nourishing food to consumers…

Our greatest hope is that the continued success of EPIC serves as a catalyst for other large food companies to invest in young, passionate, mission driven brands like EPIC. By integrating disruptive companies and learning from young entrepreneurs, big food business like General Mills can leverage financial and operational resources to create tangible and measurable change. This is real influence that will actually move the needle on how our food industry can positively impact the world on which we depend. This acquisition is NOT about General Mills changing EPIC, but rather EPIC changing General Mills.”

Photos courtesy EPIC Provisions.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine Online 1/7/16.