By Merrill Hope, Breitbart News
May 30, 2018

A Northern California jerky snack food giant is the latest company to announce plans to exit the Golden State and relocate in Texas, potentially, later this year.

Hershey, the parent company of Krave, the gourmet jerky brand, recently told its dozen Sonoma, California, based employees that they will move their operations to Austin, Texas.

Plans for the move are first getting underway, says Jeff Beckman, Hershey’s director of corporate communications. He told Breitbart Texas by email, “We are just beginning this planning process and do not yet have a time frame for a move.”

However, he clarified, “With that said, our expectation is that the move will be completed by the end of the year.”

Beckman explained the impetus behind the move was Hershey’s vision “to be an innovative snacking powerhouse.” He said the Pennsylvania-based confectionery leader acquired several brands in recent years, including Amplify Snacks, the company behind SkinnyPop popcorn. It is located in Austin.

“To bring these great snack brands together as a single business, we have decided to make Amplify the hub for our emerging brands,” said Beckman. “The biggest piece of that business today with the most resources is the SkinnyPop brand in Austin.” He called the move “the best thing for the long term success of Krave.”

For now, Beckman says that Hershey looks forward to making “a successful move to Austin with minimal disruptions” to the Krave brand. “Once the business is settled into its new home in Austin, our goal is to grow it and with growth will come job opportunities,” he added.

In 2015, Hershey acquired Krave for $218.7 million from brand founder Jon Sebastiani. He built the Sonoma County startup into a gourmet jerky success story in the heart of one of Northern California’s wine regions. Since its 2009 inception, Krave catapulted to become a leading healthy snack. Premium jerky is the fastest growing sub-segment of the estimated $2.5 billion U.S. meat snacks market, said Hershey officials in a press release.

At the time of the deal, Hershey announced that Krave would remain headquartered in Sonoma as a “standalone business” within its North American division and with Sebastiani at the helm. It appears the game plan changed with the acquisitions of Bark Thins snacking chocolates in 2016 and SkinnyPop’s maker Amplify in 2017.

Perhaps best known for its iconic chocolate “kisses,” Hershey says it employs approximately 18,000 individuals worldwide and has more than 80 brands that drive more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues. Officials hope that current Krave staffers will relocate with them to Austin, according to the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Hershey’s decision to consolidate these innovative snack brands in Austin continues the trend of California companies leaving the state. From 2008 to 2015, roughly 9,000 companies fled business-unfriendly California. Texas was the top beneficiary of those relocations. In many of these instances, the Lone Star State incentivized California and other out-of-state corporations to expand their footprint through the Texas Enterprise Fund.

Breitbart Texas that, during those seven years, California companies accounted for 15 percent of the businesses that moved their headquarters or expanded operations in pro-business Texas. The lengthy list includes Chevron, Charles Schwab, Farmer Brothers, Jacobs Engineering, Jamba Juice, JP Morgan Chase, Kubota Tractors, Liberty Mutual, McKesson Corporation, NTT Data, Omnitracs, Pegasus Foods, Raytheon, State Farm, and Toyota. Last month, JetSuite, a private charter airline, announced it will relocate from Southern California to North Texas.

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