The Van Drunen Family of Cos., Momence, Ill., announced a partnership with SouthAm Freeze Dry, Santiago, Chile, whereby Van Drunen Farms will take a majority stake in SouthAm.

Van Drunen Farms produces dehydrated fruits, vegetables and grains, while SouthAm is a freeze-dried fruit supplier.

"This partnership will better position both SouthAm and Van Drunen Farms, offering unique and substantial benefits for our customers," says Kevin Van Drunen, co-owner and president of Van Drunen Farms, and board member of SouthAm. "It is exciting to see our global platform expanded with a partner that shares our long-term vision to be a global leader in freeze-dry ingredients and has a truly international reach."

The investment in SouthAm provides Van Drunen Farms a key advantage for South and Central American fruits in the food, functional food and supplement spaces, and continues SouthAm's innovation of native herbal, fruit and vegetable ingredients. The partnership allows both organizations to enhance access to global supply.

"We are thrilled to take this next step as a company," adds Boris Hirmas Said, founder and chairman of the board of SouthAm. "We started in 2004 with a mission to create a world-class business to showcase Chile's unique capacity for premium quality manufacturing and food products. With that initial goal achieved, we are now ready to partner with Van Drunen Farms to bring this message and these products to the world. It is truly a win for us, for our Van Drunen partners, and above all, for our customers.  Ultimately, with our combined resources, we have now broadened our direct supply chain to both hemispheres, making us both more efficient and effective."

"What is truly unique about this partnership, and something that is very important to us at Van Drunen Farms, is that both SouthAm and Van Drunen Farms are family-owned companies," says Jeff Van Drunen, co-owner of Van Drunen Farms, president of FutureCeuticals (Van Drunen’s dietary supplement business) and vice chairman of the board of SouthAm. "Once all of the due diligence and pro forma is complete, it's these kinds of intangibles that transform a project from a fine idea that makes good financial sense into something intrinsically great for everyone involved. Culture and values matter to us, and SouthAm aligns perfectly with who we are as people, a family and as a corporate entity."