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Riveter Capital Serves up first acquisition with Healthy Lunch Box deal

Riveter Capital, a private equity firm focused on investing in women- and minority-led companies, has completed the acquisition of Healthy Lunch Box, Inc, a food service provider of meals to children and adults.

Based in Texas and founded in 1996 by Theresa Barajas, Healthy Lunch Box provides cafeteria-style meals to charter schools, private schools, Head Start programs, health clinics, and adult-care centres. The company uses simple, traditional cooking methods to prepare nutritious menu items from scratch and operates out of its licensed commercial kitchen in north Houston.

“The Healthy Lunch Box team is very excited to partner with Riveter Capital for this next chapter in the company’s history,” says Founder Theresa Barajas. “Healthy Lunch Box has established itself as a trusted partner to schools and other organisations for serving nutritious meals and snacks, and we look forward to leveraging Riveter’s resources and deep experience in the industry to further grow the company in the years to come. Throughout my career, I have been passionate about empowering and supporting other women, and Riveter’s mission and thesis truly resonated with me and differentiated them.”

Nakita Johnson will be joining the company as president and brings decades of school business experience, child nutrition knowledge, and extensive industry insight and relationships.

She says: “I am thrilled to be joining the Healthy Lunch Box and Riveter Capital teams. Having spent the last several years on the customer side of the business, I understand what Healthy Lunch Box’s customers want and need. The company has the foundation for providing excellent quality meals and I am focused on building upon that reputation.”

Charter schools, the company’s largest client base, have grown in popularity amid the pandemic; in particular, Texas charter school enrolment was up nearly ~9 per cent for 2020-21 from the previous academic year. Healthy Lunch Box provides meals under several mandates including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), one of the most important and successful nutrition programs in the country. During Covid-19, a time when millions of families faced financial strain and hunger, the USDA extended waivers to allow reimbursed school and childcare center meals to all students regardless of their income. Healthy Lunch Box is prepared to service the increased demand and continue supporting underserved communities to address food insecurity issues.

“Healthy Lunch Box has an impressive history and strong reputation as a key player in school catering in Texas. Being Riveter’s first investment, we are excited to honour the legacy of Theresa and continue to drive growth at the company alongside Nakita and the rest of the Healthy Lunch Box team,” says Riveter Partner Colleen Gurda.

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