ConAgra Foods snaps up Kangaroo Brands’ private label pita chips business

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Kangaroo Brands' baked pita chips are low in fat and sodium, claims the Wisconsin-based firm
Kangaroo Brands' baked pita chips are low in fat and sodium, claims the Wisconsin-based firm
ConAgra Foods' buying spree has continued with the acquisition of Wisconsin-based Kangaroo Brands’ private label pita chips business - its fourth deal in the 2012 fiscal year.

The pita chips business - which will boost ConAgra’s presence in private label snacks - follows the purchase of breakfast sandwiches and sausages maker Odom's Tennessee Pride in April 2012, packaged fruit, veg and snacks maker Del Monte Canada in January 2012 and private label snack maker National Pretzel Company in November 2011.  

ConAgra has not disclosed the terms of the latest transaction but said Kangaroo Brands’ pita chips business generates approximately $20m in annual revenues.

Pita chips are a high-growth category

The deal includes a factory in Milwaukee and about 50 "production and administrative employees​", said ConAgra, which said pita chips were "experiencing double-digit growth​".

However, Kangaroo Brands will continue to own and market its pita bread and frozen sandwiches.

"Pita chips are a high-growth category and a natural fit with ConAgra Foods' private label snacks business​," said ConAgra chief executive Gary Rodkin.

"We are pleased to add another business that further positions us for accelerated growth."

A pipeline of alternatives to Ralcorp…

ConAgra, which made multiple abortive attempts to buy Ralcorp last year​, would be pursuing a “pipeline of alternatives​” after walking away from Ralcorp, said Rodkin last year.

Speaking at ConAgra’s third quarter earnings call in late March this year, chief financial officer John Gehring said: “We have said that growth is a priority, and we are focused on strategic adjacencies, international and private label.

“We will continue to pursue acquisition opportunities where there is a strategic fit and a good financial return.”

Kangaroo Pita Chips

Kangaroo Brands was launched in 1979 (it was originally called Peta Bakeries and changed its name in 1983) and is owned by two brothers: John and George Kashou.

The firm, which is a leading supplier of pita bread, made its move into pita chips/snacks just over five years ago after acquiring a building on Milwaukee's North Side to produce chips in 2006.

Its baked pita chips contain 40% less fat and 25% less sodium than other brands, claims the firm.

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