PE investments in food products and beverages companies worldwide have remained steady over the past few years, with 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively racking up 143, 143 and 146 deals, according to the PitchBook Platform—respectable levels, even if it is a small decline from the peak deal activity in 2010. But what's even more interesting is that PE firms' tastes seem to have shifted more to investments in beverage companies.
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Food products activity hit 125 deals in 2010 and has since dropped, slowly but surely, to 100 last year. With 37 food products deals thus far, 2014 is on pace to level off at around 100 once more. Beverages activity, on the other hand, has swelled from a low of 30 in 2011 to 46 last year.
What could account for this shift? Prolific food investors like Brynwood Partners and beverages investors like Bacchus Capital Management aren't switching their focus, so is it merely coincidence? While several forces could be at work, it is worth noting that there were a record 19 deals involving alcoholic beverage-related companies in 2013 to help buoy the beverages deal count.