Mark Foods acquires frozen seafood distributor Arista Industries

Published on
September 13, 2023
Mark Foods new Wilder brand.

New York City, U.S.A.-based seafood importer Mark Foods has acquired Arista Industries, a New York City-based distributor of frozen seafood.

Founded in 1930 as a specialty oils importer, Arista Industries expanded into supplying marine, plant, vegetable, seed, nut, bean and essential oils, butters, and powders to the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, personal care, nutritional supplement, food and pet food industries. Arista entered the seafood industry in the 1960s, with a focus on the U.S. foodservice sector. Arista Seafood sold 50 million pounds of frozen seafood in 2022, a year after acquiring Penguin Frozen Foods, a distributor of shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The new entity will have around USD 800 million (EUR 745 million) in revenue on sales of approximately 100 million pounds of seafood. The company will continue to focus on Chilean sea bass, farm-raised and wild-caught shrimp, New Zealand mussels, lobster, pasteurized crab, Spanish octopus, and other frozen seafood products, Mark Foods CEO Barry Markman said in a press release.

"We are pleased to welcome Arista Seafood and its team to Mark Foods' premier seafood sourcing and distribution platform. Together, we will be a leading importer of premium seafood with more scale, a broader product offering and new expansion opportunities,” Markman said. “I have long admired the Arista Seafood team and the business they have built, and I am thrilled to welcome them to the Mark Foods family. Looking ahead, our combined leadership team is eager to work together in delivering the highest-quality seafood to our customers."

Through the transaction, Arista Industries shareholders have become shareholders in Mark Foods, while Markman will remain the controlling shareholder of Mark Foods. Arista Industries President Alan Weitzer, Arista Seafoods General Manager Joe Weitzer, and the entire Arista Seafood team will become employees of Mark Foods following the transaction. The company will have 50 employees, including 20 salespeople, following the merge.

"We are excited to have found a strong partner in Mark Foods. With the entire Arista Seafood team joining Mark Foods, we anticipate a seamless transition for our customer and supplier partners,” Weitzer said. “Mark Foods' and Arista's cultural alignment on commitment to quality, service and sustainability positions the combined company for long-term success to the benefit of our customers, suppliers, and employees."

Arista's specialty oils business is not part of the transaction and will continue to operate as Arista Industries, with no changes to the ownership group, management, or personnel.

Mark Foods has initiated a series of moves to grow since 2018, when U.S. subsidiary of Japanese corporate giant Mitsui purchased a stake in the company. In 2019, it inaugurated its Openwater Seafoods processing facility and warehouse in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., where it processes most of its Chilean sea bass into cryo-backed portions for retail and skin-on fillets for restaurants. In 2021, Mark Foods acquired a significant interest in Endeavor Seafoods, a seafood importer founded in 2001 and based in Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A. In 2022, it hired Josh Burman to expand its sales and marketing programs and launch a fresh fish importing operation.

This summer, Mark Foods launched a new brand, Wilder, which initially will feature Chilean sea bass portions, Spanish octopus, blue swimming crab, and premium Atlantic cod sourced from longline fishing vessels based in Norway. Mark Foods is offering the product for wholesale and skin-packed refreshed programs for retail.

Mark Foods also recently expanded its product line to hamachi, Chilean centolla crab, majidae spider crab from Japan, and yellowfin tuna from Indonesia.

Photo courtesy of Cliff White/SeafoodSource

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