Local salsa, hummus, and chip maker Garden Fresh Gourmet announced today its sale to Campbell Soup Co. for a cool $231 million, reports The Detroit Free Press. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year at which point Garden Fresh will join the Campbell Fresh division. Campbell's is expected to retain 95 percent of Garden Fresh's nearly 500 employees as well as keep founder Jack Aronson on as an adviser.
"Garden Fresh Gourmet will allow the Campbell Fresh division to expand in the deli section of the grocery store perimeter and will complement our strong presence in the produce section," Jeff Dunn, president of Campbell Fresh, tells DBusiness. "It's a logical extension of our fresh food and beverage platform that resonates with today's consumers."
Garden Fresh began its rise to become the number one branded refrigerated salsa in the U.S. back in 1997 in Jack and Annette Aronson's Clubhouse Bar-B-Q, according to The Detroit News. Today, the company operates four different facilities in Michigan and netted approximately $100 million in sales last year.
The sale was both necessary for the company's future growth and bittersweet. Son of the founder and director of operations at Garden Fresh, Trevor Aronson, says it will it will be sad to no longer be owners of a business his family built from scratch. "They're going to take it to the next level," Aronson says. "It's going to be big."