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ConAgra Brands snaps up Duke's and BIGS Seeds: 'We're reshaping our portfolio to be more premium and modern'

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By Elaine Watson+

16-Mar-2017
Last updated on 17-Mar-2017 at 16:52 GMT2017-03-17T16:52:11Z

ConAgra Brands snaps up Duke's and BIGS Seeds

ConAgra Brands has struck a deal to buy protein-fueled snacks business Thanasi Foods, maker of Duke's meat snacks and BIGS seeds, for an undisclosed sum.

Following completion of the deal, which is expected to close this summer, the Duke's and BIGS brands will continue operating out of Boulder, Colorado (ConAgra Brands is based in Chicago), said ConAgra Brands CEO Sean Connolly.

"This is another exciting step in our ongoing efforts to reshape our portfolio to be more premium and modern. These on-trend brands extend our meat snacks and seeds businesses into faster-growing, more premium segments [ConAgra already has expertise in meat snacks and seeds via its Slim Jim and DAVID Seeds brands]."

Duke's makes premium meat products including Duke's Smoked Shorty Sausages and Duke's Steak & Brisket Strips, while BIGS produces seed snacks, including jumbo in-shell sunflower seeds, sunflower seed kernels and roasted pumpkin seeds.  

Justin 'Duke' Havlick, Duke's and BIGS founder and CEO, said: "What started 13 years ago as a simple passion for fire roasting seeds and slow smoking meats, has grown into two terrific brands that are recognized in households across the US. This is an incredibly exciting time for our brands and our team, and we are looking forward to working with the Conagra Brands team on the next chapter in our journey to take Duke's and BIGS to another level."

According to SPINS data (US natural, specialty and conventional multi-outlet retailers, excluding convenience retailers) for the 52 weeks to December 25, 2016, dollar sales of meat jerky were up 6.9%, other meat snacks were up 3.5% and seeds were down 0.9%.

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