Honolulu, Hawai‘i, Jan. 11, 2021 – Hawaiian Host Group, parent company of iconic brands Hawaiian Host® and Mauna Loa® has been acquired by HHML Acquisition LLC (“HHML”), a private investment company backed by local and mainland investors. Hawaiian Host Group has long been recognized as the leading manufacturer of premium chocolate and macadamia nut snacks, and Ed Schultz, Hawaiian Host Group’s President since 2019 and currently the company’s President and CEO — who is part of the investment group — will continue to lead the Honolulu-based company.
HHML will modernize Hawaiian Host Group’s 100,000-square-foot Honolulu plant and Kea‘au tree-nut processing facilities, expand the company’s rapidly growing E-commerce division, and continue the company’s commitment to sustainability. These investments will also enrich the growth of Hawaiian Host Group’s core products such as Hawaiian Host’s Paradise Collection, Tiki Deluxe and its new ultra-premium chocolate KOHO label along with support for the significant pipeline of innovations slated for Mauna Loa.
In February, the company plans to launch its Mauna Loa Macadamia Milk “Nice Cream” frozen dessert. Packed with Macadamia Powered Paradise ™, the product will initially be available in more than 1,300 stores across the United States as well as Whole Foods, Safeway, Foodland, Times, and Longs Drugs in Hawai‘i. There are currently six Hawai‘i-inspired flavors in this new category, including its signature Rocky Road to Hana™.
“After COVID hit, we sought a capital partner with expertise, integrity, and an unwavering commitment for Hawaiian Host Group to continue as a major Hawai‘i-based employer and innovator,” said Mr. Schultz. “The HHML recapitalization will preserve our unique company culture and allow us to continue to share the spirit of Hawai‘i here in the Islands and well beyond our shores for years to come.”
The seller is The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Trust, the primary beneficiary of which is the Takitani Foundation, Inc. The Takitani Foundation is dedicated to helping Hawai‘i students achieve their educational and career goals. In keeping with the original vision of its founders, the Foundation will retain an interest in future revenues of Hawaiian Host Group. Tony Takitani, nephew of Hawaiian Host founder Mamoru Takitani, has served on the company’s board of directors and has been a Trustee since 2004. Mr. Takitani stated, “I’d like to thank the board for making the future of Hawaiian Host Group its top priority and Ed for his leadership throughout this period — the most difficult the company has ever seen — and positioning it well for decades of continued growth.”