TURLOCK -- Dairy giant Land O'Lakes announced this month it will take over Kozy Shack, the New York-based pudding company that operates a plant in Turlock.
No changes to the local plant are anticipated, said Rebecca Lentz, spokeswoman for Minnesota-based Land O'Lakes, which will add the 400 Kozy Shack employees to its company of 9,000.
"Land O'Lakes intends to continue operating Kozy Shack production and distribution out of the current Kozy Shack and Freshway facilities," Lentz said in an e-mail Thursday. Freshway, a subsidiary of Kozy Shack, distributes its products.
Kozy Shack opened its Turlock plant in 1995 and has expanded since. The company started when grocery delivery driver Vinnie Gruppuso tried the kosher rice pudding at the Cozy Shack deli in Brooklyn. He liked the pudding so much that he added it to the line of products he delivered to stores. In 1967, he bought the operation.
Kozy Shack is based in Hickman, N.Y. In addition to the Turlock site, the company operates a plant in Lough Egish, Ireland. Workers at the Turlock plant referred comment to the company's corporate headquarters. Representatives there could not be reached for comment.
Farmer-owned Land O'Lakes, Inc. is the second-largest agricultural cooperative in the United States. Materials from the company say it has annual sales of nearly $13 billion.
In a news release, Chief Executive Officer Chris Policinski called Kozy Shack "a strong strategic fit" for Land O'Lakes.
"The company is comprised of great people, first-rate production facilities, and products that exceed the consumer's expectation for quality," he said.
"It is exciting for the 40-plus-year-old Kozy Shack brand to be infused with expanded resources and brand-building focus," Kozy Shack President and CEO Robert Striano said in the release. "The future is bright for the Kozy Shack business as a strategic brand within the Land O'Lakes portfolio."
The companies did not disclose terms of the sale, which is expected to close July 31.
Customers looking for Kozy Shack products still will be able to find them, Lentz said.
"Part of the attraction of this acquisition was the strong brand and product line," she said. "We are pleased with what Kozy Shack has. As any big branded company does, Land O'Lakes continually evaluates the market for strategic product opportunities and will continue that practice."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343.