Chaucer Food Group, a United Kingdom-based producer of premium food ingredients, and Simple Pitch Ventures, Newport Beach, Calif., entered into an agreement to invest in Crunchies Food Co., a freeze-dried fruit and vegetable brand based in Westlake Village, Calif.

Chaucer Foods’ new investment reflects the globally-respected company’s commitment to helping Crunchies maintain its category dominance and long-standing dedication to product innovation. At the same time, the new agreement helps Chaucer achieve its goal of expanding in the rapidly growing U.S. freeze-dried market.

James Lacey will remain on board as president and CEO of Crunchies, a position he’s held since 2006.

Beyond evolving into a must-have snack among consumers nationwide, Crunchies has established strong supplier and distributor relationships over the years, all of which will continue to be nurtured and expanded as a direct result of Chaucer’s and Simplepitch Ventures’ added resources. Today, Crunchies is sold at North American retailers, including Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods.

“We’re delighted to announce our strategic investment in Crunchies, which illustrates Chaucer’s wider corporate strategy to become a truly global, market-leading specialist food ingredient and consumer products producer,” says Andy Ducker, chief executive officer of Chaucer Foods. “We’re confident that with our operational expertise and investment, the already successful Crunchies brand will develop to its full potential in the U.S. and maximize its opportunities in the growing freeze-dried markets. In addition, the combination of the Crunchies and Chaucer companies will provide Chaucer with increased visibility and exposure to customers and suppliers in the North American market.”

“Chaucer as a global leader in its field and Simple Pitch Ventures have the resources to enable us to deliver the highest quality products to our loyal retail customers and consumers, along with the capacity to meet the growing needs of our valued distribution partners,” adds Lacey. “Most importantly, Chaucer and Simple Pitch Ventures share my long-standing commitment to product quality and innovation, which will ensure that Crunchies stays true to its natural snacking origins, while at the same time being able to expand as more and more consumers gravitate toward a healthy eating lifestyle.”