Hillshire Brands has entered the dried meat snacks category after striking a deal to buy California-based premium pork and beef jerky maker Golden Island Jerky for an undisclosed sum.
Under the deal, which is expected to close by the end of September, Golden Island will become part of Hillshire Brands' gourmet food group, to be run by chief innovation officer Sally Grimes.
Hillshire CEO Sean Connolly said: "This highly appealing category generates retail sales of more than $2bn annually and has had 10% volume growth over the past two years."
Chicago-based Hillshire Brands - best known for its Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Aidells and Gallo brands - was created in summer 2012 after Sara Lee spun off if its international coffee arm.
The firm, which is on a mission to become the ‘most innovative meat-centric food company in the US’, generated approximately $4bn in annual sales in fiscal 2013.
A third-generation, family-owned business, Golden Island Jerky produces more than 20 gourmet varieties in small batches with no preservatives.
Made with whole cuts of meat, Golden Island Jerky includes up to 8g protein in each serving and contains 40-60% less sodium than most other jerkies, claims the firm. The products are available online and in select Costco locations nationwide.