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Cofounder says Plum Organics will stay true to mission within Campbell fold

By Hank Schultz , 30-May-2013
Last updated on 30-May-2013 at 15:13 GMT

Plum Organics co founder and CEO Neil Grimmer said the company will stay true to its mission within the Campbell fold, including maintaining its commitment to its values as a B Corporation.

“There is no change in direction.  Our mission is to get the very best foods to little ones from the very first bite.   By joining the Campbell family of brands,  Plum can now be more accessible to families across the country and around the globe. As a founder and dad, I am more committed than ever to my partnership with our consumers and their little ones,” Grimmer told FoodNavigator-USA. 

Plum, based based in Emeryville, CA, is the No. 2 brand of organic baby food in the US and is currently the No. 4 baby food brand overall. Baby food is an approximately $2 billion category in the US. From 2010 to 2012, the premium and organic segments grew at an average annual rate of 43 percent.

Benefits to Plum

According to a statement from Plum Organics, the deal will allow it to amplify its mission to reach even more children on a global scale.  Plum will continue to sell its comprehensive line of organic meals and snacks across its baby, toddler and kids portfolio.   Plum said its core product offering and core positioning will not change, and jointing  Campbell brings more consumer insights, product development, brand building and supply chain capabilities, as well as international reach.

In addition, the Plum management team, including Grimmer, will remain in place and the company will function as a standalone business within Campbell and will continue to be based in Emeryville.

“Campbell recognizes the magic that is the Plum team, a group of passionate and purpose-driven people that have been able to transform the baby food category through our design-lead approach and emphasis on rapid innovation.   None of that will change.  Campbell simply sees the magic and wants to help us amplify that in the marketplace through the additional resources they can provide,” Grimmer said.

B Corp status

Plum Organics had been organized as a B Corporation, a corporate structure that allows a social mission to be codified within the company’s legal framework.  The approach, invented and fostered by the certifying organization B Lab, is meant to enact social change while also allowing for a strong profit motive.  How will that aspect of Plum’s organization change with the Campbell deal?

“Our friends and partners at B Lab have played a tremendous role in helping us codify our values and create metrics of accountability around them.  And while the structure of our relationship may need to change, they remain a guide for us, informing a set of key principles we use to guide our business. Those guidelines are baked into our company's DNA and they are not going to change.  We remain committed to all stakeholders (not just shareholders) as per the B Corp pledge,” Grimmer said.

Plum Organics generated $93 million in gross sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition will not affect Campbell’s previously-announced fiscal 2013 guidance.

Campbell will fund the acquisition through available credit. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

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