The Kunzler & Co. plant along Manor Street in Lancaster.

Montgomery County-based Clemens Food Group announced Monday that it has acquired Lancaster city-based Kunzler & Co. Inc.

Clemens did not disclose details of the deal between the privately held companies. The company spokesperson said they would not answer any questions. A Kunzler spokesperson did not respond to a reporter’s email.  

Clemens is the fifth largest pork processor in the United States, and Kunzler is a beloved local maker of hotdogs, Lebanon bologna and other meat products. 

Clemens said it would continue the Kunzler brand and integrate Kunzler’s factories in Lancaster city and Tyrone, Blair County, into its operation. Clemens Food Group said the strategic locations of the plants align with its goals to expand support for Pennsylvania's agriculture and food processing industry.

Clemens pork brands include Hatfield, Farm Promise and Prima Porta. The privately held Clemens has about $2 billion in revenue annually and employs about 5,000 across multiple states. 

Kunzler, headquartered at 652 Manor St., had annual sales around $150 million and about 600 employees, 300 in Lancaster, in 2017. As of 2021, about 200 production and maintenance workers at Kunzler were members of Local 152 of the United Food & Commercial Workers. The union had a three-year contract set to expire this spring. Union representatives did not return a phone call Monday. 

“The decision to acquire Kunzler stems from both organizations’ earned industry reputations, as both are viewed as trusted providers of high-quality products to the marketplace,” Brad Clemens, president of Clemens Food Group, said in Monday’s announcement. 

Chris Kunzler III, the great-grandson of the founder Christian Kunzler, and Clemens noted similarities between the company cultures. Monday's announcement referred to Kunzler III as Kunzler's former president. Kunzler was founded by a German immigrant who invested his $700 life savings to start a sausage-making business in Lancaster city. Clemens Food Group is  a sixth-generation family owned business. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege for the Kunlzer family to have been invited to the table of our customers for over 120 years, but now is the right time to pass the company reins,” said Kunzler in Monday’s announcement. “We found a great steward to carry on the Kunzler family legacy and we look forward, with joy and anticipation, to what they will do to enhance and grow the brand and product offerings.”

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