Campbell Soup sells refrigerated salsa brand Garden Fresh Gourmet

USA – Campbell Soup has announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell its branded refrigerated salsa brand, Garden Fresh Gourmet to an affiliate of Fountain of Health USA for an undisclosed sum.

This is part of the company’s plan to divest both its Campbell Fresh and Campbell International businesses to turn the business to profitability after a series of dismal operating performance.

Garden Fresh Gourmet is part of the Campbell Fresh division, which also includes Bolthouse Farms.

Based in Ferndale, Michigan, Garden Fresh Gourmet was acquired by Campbell in 2015 and makes sells and distributes hummus, dips and tortilla chips both under the Garden-Fresh Gourmet brand and private label products.

In August last year, Campbell announced a Board-led strategic portfolio review to sell its Campbell Fresh refrigerated foods and Campbell International units to better focus on its core snacks, meals and beverage businesses.

The company is targeting to increase the its focus, significantly reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet, especially after activist investor Third Point called on Campbell’s to sell up due to ‘disappointing’ results.

The dispute saw the departure of President and Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison after registering a steep quarterly loss that reflected a US$619 million impairment charge for the Campbell Fresh unit.

Campbell has since abandoned plans to expand into fresh foods saying it aims to leverage consumer insights and trends, including health and wellness, snacking and convenience to bolster the performance of its staple food products.

The company says the processes to sell Bolthouse Farms and Campbell International are both on-track and it expects to name buyers by the end of the fiscal 2019.

Campbell recently agreed to sell its refrigerated soup plant in Everett, Washington, to an affiliate of the Joshua Green Corp., a Seattle-based private investment company.

The 225,000-square-foot facility was part of the Campbell Fresh division, which includes the Bolthouse Farms and Garden-Fresh Gourmet businesses.

Founded in 1990, Fountain of health USA makes hummus, dips, variety packs, prepared salads, pâtés, and frozen desserts and pledges to craft fresh dishes, with no added preservatives or chemicals, 100% natural and free of any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Campbell’s fiscal 2019 third quarter.

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