Utz, the century old regional chipmaker, scoops up major tortilla chip maker

Utz Brands logo on a banner.
A banner for Utz Brands, which is listed at the New York Stock Exchange, hangs on the exterior of the building, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Utz Brands, the 99-year-old potato chip and pretzel maker well-known to consumers in the mid-Atlantic, is adding tortilla chips and salsa to its business, with a $480 million acquisition of On The Border.

On The Border is one of the nation’s largest makers of tortilla chips, salsas, queso and other dips.

Utz is buying On the Border’s parent Truco Enterprises from Insignia Capital Group. The acquisition is expected to close in December.

Tortilla chips are the second-largest salty snack category, behind potato chips, with $6.2 billion in annual retail sales. The salty snacks category generates $28 billion in annual revenue in the U.S.

Americans also spend $1.5 billion a year on salsa. Tortilla chip sales in the U.S. have grown 10% in the past year.

The acquisition of On the Border will push Utz’ annual revenue to $1.3 billion in total retail sales.

Utz, founded in Hanover, Pennsylvania in 1921, got its start as a small, family-owned business selling fresh chips to grocers mostly in the Baltimore area.

Utz now has fourteen production facilities in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Washington and Massachusetts.

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