Founded by Josh Hochschuler in 2003, Talenti has been significantly outpacing rivals in the frozen desserts aisle in recent years, and is on course to generate revenues of $120m in 2014.
Multi-outlet sales data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI shows that dollar sales of Talenti gelato in US supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club & dollar chains surged 82% in the 52 weeks to November 2, while dollar sales of its sorbets were up 55% over the same period.
In comparison, overall dollar sales of ice cream rose 2.4% over the same period, while dollar sales of sherbert/sorbet/ices were down 6.68% (IRI multi-outlet data, 52 weeks to Nov 2).
Senior management team to stay on post the acquisition
In a statement issued Tuesday, Talenti said it would “continue to craft gelato and sorbetto using old world methods… [and] maintain and operate its production facility in Marietta, Georgia”.
CEO Steve Gill added that joining Unilever would give Talenti “access to Unilever's extensive distribution network” and complement Unilever's ice cream portfolio, which includes the Ben & Jerry's, Breyers, Fruttare, Good Humor, Klondike, Magnum and Popsicle brands.
He added: "We are thrilled to join the Unilever family, work together to expand distribution and share Talenti love with even more ice cream consumers.”
Talenti will operate as a stand-alone business of Unilever North America
Unilever, meanwhile, told FoodNavigator-USA that the senior management team at Talenti including would be staying on post the acquisition.
A spokesperson added: “Talenti will operate as a stand-alone business of Unilever North America headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. Talenti CEO Steve Gill will report directly to Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America.
“We see Talenti as complementary to our existing brands. The acquisition will allow us to provide consumers with a more complete and well-differentiated offering.”
A 'fantastic' brand
Asked about manufacturing, Unilever confirmed that Talenti products would continue to be made in a facility in Marietta, Georgia, post the deal.
Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America, added: “The acquisition widens Unilever’s position in the fast-growing gelato market with its artisanal offerings and its clear, distinct and recyclable packaging.
"We are looking forward to growing and developing this fantastic brand further.”
More to follow...