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Campbell Soup to buy Garden Fresh for $231 million

Staff writer |
Campbell Soup said it is buying salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet for $231 million to expand in the fresh and organic packaged foods business.

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Campbell said in January it would reorganize its business to shift its "center of gravity," a reference to its troubled soup business.

Garden Fresh, which makes Jack's Special salsa as well as hummus and tortilla chips, will become a part of the Campbell Fresh business, which includes Bolthouse Farms.

Campbell first noticed Garden Fresh when its executives were walking the aisles of its retailers, looking for opportunities to build its portfolio of healthy snacks, Campbell Fresh President Jeff Dunn said in an interview.

In the hummus category, "Garden Fresh was the only significant brand in that space that hadn’t been acquired," Dunn said.

"We knew eventually the family was going to sell the business."

Ferndale, Michigan-based Garden Fresh, which Campbell said generated $100 million in net sales in 2014, was founded by Jack and Annette Aronson in 1998. Jack Aronson will be an adviser to the business after the purchase by Campbell.

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