Garden Fresh Gourmet will become part of the Campbell Fresh division, which houses Bolthouse Farms, the 1915 brand of premium cold-pressed organic juices, and Campbell's retail refrigerated soups, said Campbell CEO Denise Morrison: “Garden Fresh Gourmet's on-trend products will provide Campbell with another growth engine to help us continue to shift our center of gravity."
Garden Fresh - which was founded in 1998 and generated $100m in net sales in calendar year 2014 - has carved a niche in the market by investing in high pressure processing (HPP) - a technique that enables it to produce fresh-tasting, preservative-free products with a longer shelf-life, helping it to broaden its distribution.
The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, will help Campbell Soup “expand in the deli section of the grocery store perimeter”, said Jeff Dunn, President-Campbell Fresh.
In a message to staff on Facebook, Garden Fresh founder, president and CEO Jack Aronson (who will stay on as an adviser to the business) said: "We will continue to be the brand that you fell in love with — our dedication to quality, innovation and our core values will remain the same. It is in our DNA.”
Ferndale, Michigan-based Garden Fresh, which has approximately 500 employees and operations in Grand Rapids, Inkster, and Detroit, will continue to operate out of Ferndale, and will be led by Todd Putman, General Manager-Garden Fresh, within the Campbell Fresh division.
Campbell has been steadily bolstering its presence in the fast-growing fresh foods market, acquiring Bolthouse Farms in 2012 and Plum Organics in 2013.