National firms take note of Oregon startups

National firms are starting to take note of Oregon startups: several recent major acquisitions of companies in the state illustrate areas where Oregon companies are leading the way.

The last couple weeks have seen some major acquisitions of Oregon food and beverage companies, including a $195 million purchase of local company So Delicious by the Denver-based White Wave Foods Company. So Delicious was founded in 1987 by Mark Brawerman as a small operation that grew into a company that employs about 170 people in the Eugene-Springfield area. White Wave Foods is the nations largest producer of plant-based foods. The acquisition of So Delicious will provide them an entrance into the frozen foods market.

Nationally, the organic market has been growing at a rate of 10% each year since 2010, well above the growth of other foods, about 3% each year. The relatively small organic condiments market has been growing at a rate of 17% per year. Local company Red Duck Foods fits into this category.

10 Barrels Brewing in Bend was also recently purchased by Anheuser-Busch for an undisclosed sum. Nationally, craft beer sales have risen by 17% while beer sales as a whole have fallen by 2%. Many large national brewers are seeking to gain entrance into the market by buying out small, craft breweries. Oregon leads the nation for number of breweries per capita, according to the Brewer’s Association. The market in Oregon is worth about $111 million annually.

The message is clear: national companies are starting to look towards quality products and innovative companies from Oregon to give help them remain competitive in the national market.

Do you see an area where Oregon companies are leading the way? Share your thoughts in the comments or join us on twitter at @eugenerain.