An equity firm is making a large investment in a leading Hispanic refrigerated food company.

Palladium Equity Partners, LLC (along with its affiliates, "Palladium"), has announced that one of its affiliated private equity funds has made a significant investment in partnership with the founding family of Del Real Foods ("Del Real").

Palladium is a private investment firm with approximately $2.0 billion in assets under management. And its prior investments include Teasdale Foods, a producer of bean and hominy products, Castro Cheese, a manufacturer and distributor of premium, authentic Hispanic cheeses and other dairy products, Taco Bueno Restaurants, a Tex-Mex restaurant chain, Wise Foods, a manufacturer and marketer of salty snacks, and Sahale Snacks, a manufacturer and marketer of premium, branded nut and fruit snacks.

Del Real was founded in 2002 by the Cardenas Family, who are first generation Mexican-Americans with a passion for authentic Mexican cuisine. Deeply rooted in traditional family and cultural recipes, Del Real manufactures a variety of heat-and-serve Hispanic food products, including value-added proteins such as Carnitas and Barbacoa, rice and bean dishes, and staples such as tamales and salsas.

The company produces its products using natural ingredients without preservatives, and in small batches that mimic traditional cooking methods. Del Real's freshly-packed products can be found in the refrigerated foods' section, delivering authentic flavor and quality in a convenient heat-and-serve format to the customer.

Del Real has built a trusted, authentic brand within the large and growing Hispanic foods category.

Since its founding as a prepared food commissary for Cardenas Markets, Del Real has experienced rapid growth and established itself as a leading Hispanic refrigerated food company.

Del Real's products are primarily sold in the Western U.S., where its customers include large club stores, supermarkets, national restaurant chains, broad line foodservice distributors, delicatessens and other retail outlets.

With Palladium's investment and partnership, the company plans to extend its reach into new geographies, broaden its distribution channels, and enter complementary new product categories.

"We are excited to partner with a company that is distinguished by a strong, authentic brand and record of growth. We believe that Del Real is poised to benefit from several macro trends that are dramatically reshaping consumer food choices," said Luis Zaldivar, a Managing Director of Palladium. "We first met the founders of Del Real over a decade ago and have followed the company as it established a strong brand and reputation for quality and authenticity. My colleagues and I see a significant potential growth opportunity across products, channels and geographies."

"In Palladium, we have found a partner who is just as enthusiastic about Del Real and its future as we are," said Jesus Cardenas Jr., an equity holder of Del Real Foods. "Our company has a strong business, proud heritage and identity. Palladium shares our vision to maintain this legacy as we carefully target opportunities to grow the company geographically and in new distribution channels."

Lazard Middle Market served as financial advisor to Del Real Foods on the transaction. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP was the company's legal advisor. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP was the legal advisor for Palladium.