Eagle Foods beefs up portfolio with acquisition of Helper, Suddenly Salad brands from General Mills

US – Eagle Family Foods Group, best known for its sweetened condensed milk, has agreed to acquire Helper meals and Suddenly Salad side dishes from General Mills for approximately US$610 million.

Helper brands include the iconic Hamburger, Tuna and Chicken Helper meals in 60 flavors, while Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad pasta salad mixes are available in eight varieties.

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The combined net sales of the Helper and Suddenly Salad businesses were roughly US$235 million in 2021, according to General Mills.

Eagle Foods said in a statement that the transaction should close in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.

With the acquisition of Helper and Suddenly Salad, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company will have three platforms targeting center-store categories: snacks, baking, and meals and sides.

“The Helper and Suddenly Salad brands, with a strong heritage and high consumer awareness, are a perfect fit for what Eagle does best — investing in, innovating, and revitalizing brands to drive growth and nurture them to reach their full potential,” CEO Bernard Kreilmann said in a statement.

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“We will immediately start expanding the positioning of these two iconic brands and bring consumers tasty, convenient, and affordable meal solutions.”

For General Mills, the sale is part of its “Accelerate” profit growth strategy, which the company said includes “relentlessly innovating” and “unleashing its scale” by reshaping its portfolio in key sectors.

The sale of Helper and Suddenly Salad comes at a time of transformation for General Mills, a company known for cereals including Cheerios and Trix, Betty Crocker baking mixes and Chex Mix snacks.

At this year’s CAGNY conference in February, General Mills laid out its “Accelerate” strategy, which includes reshaping its portfolio through investments and divestitures, with a goal of driving higher profits and returns to its shareholders.

General Mills said at the conference that it had turned over 15% of its net sales base since 2018 through strategic changes to its portfolio.

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Last fall, Bloomberg reported that General Mills was considering selling packaged meal brands including Hamburger Helper and Progresso Soup, looking to raise roughly $3 billion.

“This transaction improves our North America Retail segment’s growth profile and allows us to increase our focus on brands and categories where we have the best opportunities to drive profitable growth,” Jon Nudi, General Mills Group President, North America Retail, said in a statement.

On the acquisitions side, General Mills announced this month its purchase of pizza crust maker TNT Crust for an undisclosed sum.

The CPG giant said that the purchase will help it gain market share in the away-from-home frozen baked goods category, where it sees growth potential.

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