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Heinz acquires JL Foods in $500 million cash deal.

Heinz Acquires JL Foods In $500 Million Cash Deal

JL Foods, which runs a string of frozen food companies in Canada and Britain as well as the United States, has been picked up by H.J. Heinz Co. for $500 million.

Based on Eugene, Oregon, JL Foods had been itself a subsidiary of John Labatt Ltd. of Canada. Its six major operating subsidiaries are Chef Francisco, Oregon Farms, Delicious Foods and Crestar Foods in Canada and Halls European Foods in Great Britain.

Its 11 plants manufacture a wide range of frozen foods for the retail trade (including in-store delis, meat departments and convenience stores), restaurants, take-out and home delivery operations and other foodservice businesses. Items include frozen soups (Chef Francisco makes more than 70 kinds, and is the largest supplier to the American foodservice sector), pizza and pizza products (Crestar), snack foods (Oregon Farms, which recently introduced Bagel Bites with great success) and breaded and battered fish and vegetables (Delicious Foods and Olmstead Foods).

Heinz, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been best known in the frozen food industry for its Weight Watchers entrees and desserts. In an internal restructuring, the company recently put all its Weight Watchers operations together under Weight Watchers Food Co. Weight Watchers has been a star performer for Heinz - just recently, it test marketed microwaveable breakfast items and attained market shares of 16% to 40%. Weight Watchers frozen desserts, meanwhile, increased their USA share from 15% to 17%. In Britain, meanwhile, Weight Watchers ready meals sales grew by 23% last year; they are the market leaders in the category there.

Ore-Ide Foods, another Heinz subsidiary that specializes in frozen potato products, acquired Celestial Farms, which makes items like twice baked potatoes and baked potato shells for both the retail and foodservice markets. And Heinz-Canada expanded its frozen baked goods business by buying out two Canadian companies, Les Boulangeries Mansion Bakeries and Baker's House. It also snapped up Tasty Frozen Products, which operates frozen dough factories in the USA.
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Title Annotation:H.J. Heinz Co.
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:332
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