PadillaCRT Beefs Up Its Food Credentials

The acquisition of FoodMinds now makes the marketing agency the third-largest among independents in the food and beverage industry.

PadillaCRT has acquired FoodMinds, a Chicago-based food and nutrition consulting firm that it said, when combined with its current lineup, makes it the third largest in the food and beverage industry among independent agencies.
The Minneapolis marketing agency was keen to expand its reach in the ever-changing field and saw FoodMinds as a great fit based on previous work. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We’ve identified food and beverage as one of our agency’s major growth opportunities,” PadillaCRT CEO Lynn Casey said in a statement. “FoodMinds brings talent and expertise that is a perfect complement to our existing team.”
FoodMinds sits at the “intersection of food, science and public affairs,” said cofounder Bill Layden. The company of 35 has 14 dietitians on staff and touts clients that include food behemoth Nestle USA, Chobani, Applegate meats and the National Dairy Council.
It will join Padilla as a division that keeps it name and much of the branding and client base in place. That includes working with some clients that may use a different agency of record but that have brought FoodMinds along to provide its services.
The firm has “a lot of equity in the market,” Casey said. “We certainly didn’t want to do any harm to that.”
The companies first partnered together while working with the Hass Avocado Board. The organization was looking to increase consumption of a food that was sometimes shunned for its high fat content. FoodMinds was tasked with looking for evidence to substantiate avocado consumption, while Padilla created the public relations campaign around it. The result was “Love One Today,” which touted the fruit’s “good fats,” lack of sodium and cholesterol, micronutrient benefits and high fiber content.
Since then, avocado consumption has taken off. And a spark between the two companies was lit.
“The best marriages happen when you’ve been dating for a while,” Casey said.
Both Casey and Layden noted the similarity of cultures at the companies and the complementary skills their respective agencies bring to the table. While they declined to drop names, they said that several of Padilla’s existing food and beverage clients—a roster that includes Land O’Lakes, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and Wines from Rioja—could benefit from campaigns based on research-backed nutrition and health data.
Other agencies have food scientists and dietitians on staff, Casey said. “But the depth of expertise that FoodMinds has is something that will really set us apart.”