The sale represents the culmination of eight years of collaboration and enterprise building between Highlander Partners and SensoryEffects' founder, chairman and CEO, Charles A. Nicolais, and the management team he assembled.
Nicolais approached Highlander Partners nine years ago with a business plan he had developed to consolidate and professionalize certain segments of the food ingredient manufacturing industry. His plan was influenced by his direct experience in the food industry as well as dynamics he had observed in the specialty chemicals industry earlier in his career. Nicolais, a chemical engineer by training, believed that certain industry characteristics in food ingredients mirrored the trends within the specialty chemical industry. In particular, multinational consumer food companies sought suppliers with size and scale to address supply chain reliability, increasing quality and food safety requirements and, importantly, open innovation in research and development. Nicolais' vision was to create a "custom solutions house" that would develop unique solutions to customers' product challenges, whether they be imparting sensory attributes (such as taste, aroma, texture or color) or manufacturing improvements (delivering ingredients in a form that better enabled the next step of the manufacturing process).