Chicago-based Frontera – a gourmet Mexican food company started by Chef Rick Bayless - makes salsa, sauces, snacks and meals under the Frontera and Salpica brands, while Chicago-based Red Fork is known for its premium American cooking sauces.
The deal does not include any of the Frontera-branded restaurants, said ConAgra, which has made significant structural changes since bringing on Sean Connolly as its new CEO in April 2015, acquiring natural and organic frozen meal maker Blake’s the following month, and divesting its private label arm Ralcorp to TreeHouse Foods in November 2015.
The firm – which has also cut a significantly number of jobs and move its HQ from Omaha, Nebraska, to Chicago – is also planning to separate into independent public companies: one comprising its consumer brands (ConAgra Brands, Inc) and the other its frozen potato foodservice business (Lamb Weston), this fall.
Conagra Brands (led by CEO Sean Connolly and based in Chicago): This new segment will include the consumer foods operation (which generated revenues of c.$7.2bn in fiscal 2015) and features brands such as Marie Callender’s, Hunt’s, RO*TEL, Reddi-Wip, Slim Jim, PAM, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher’s, P.F. Chang’s and Healthy Choice.
It will also include the traditional foodservice business (sales of branded products to foodservice companies) JM Swank, as well as certain private label operations. Conagra Brands is also expected to retain ConAgra Foods’ stake in the Ardent Mills flour milling joint venture. (The Spicetec flavors and seasonings business is being sold to Givaudan.)
Lamb Weston: This portfolio will consist of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and other vegetable products, as well as a continued presence in retail frozen products under licensed brands and private brands.