Ventura Foods to buy Cargill dressings, sauces and mayonnaise business

Ventura Foods has agreed to acquire the dressings, sauces and mayonnaise (DSM) business of Cargill. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Cargill DSM makes products such as mayonnaise, tartar sauce, flavored dressings and sauces for national food service companies and distributors. The business operates from one standalone facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and two facilities integrated within the broader operations of Cargill’s Fats & Oils Group in Gainesville, Ga., and Sidney, Ohio.

Ventura Foods’ acquisition includes Cargill’s Port St. Lucie facility as well as the DSM assets at its Sidney and Gainesville facilities. Cargill will retain ownership of both the Sidney and Gainesville plants, where it will continue to own and operate its North American Fats & Oils business. Cargill’s DSM assets from Sidney and Gainesville will be relocated to Ventura Foods’ facilities in Chambersburg, Pa., and Fort Worth, Texas, the companies said. Additionally, Cargill will provide contract manufacturing services for 15 to 18 months to Ventura Foods to ensure continuity for its customers and a smooth transition to Ventura Foods.

Ventura Foods makes custom and proprietary dressings, sauces, mayonnaises, oils and other flavorings. In addition to its proprietary products produced for customers, Ventura Foods’ consumer brands available at retail include Marie’s dressings, LouAna oils, Dean’s dips and Gold n’ Soft spreads.

“The acquisition of Cargill’s DSM business furthers Ventura Foods’ strategy to grow, strengthen and diversify,” said Chris Furman, president and chief executive officer of Ventura Foods. “It adds greater depth to our already strong capabilities and another platform for innovation. We are highly confident in our ability to successfully integrate this important business and look forward to continuing the excellent work of Cargill’s DSM team.”

Following the sale of the business, Cargill said it will continue to produce and market a variety of oil and shortenings products used in everything from cookies and crackers to retail brand cooking oils and zero trans-fat frying oils used by quick-service restaurants. Cargill supplies salad and cooking oils, high stability oils, omega-3 oils, frying oils and shortenings; cake and icing shortenings, confectionery and specialty fats; and tortilla shortenings.

“We remain very committed to being a leading provider of oils and shortening to North American consumer package goods companies, retailers, food service companies and food distributors,” said Gonzalo Petschen, North American regional managing director for Cargill Fats & Oils. “The sale of our DSM business will allow us to operate more efficiently, and bring more and better offerings and services to our customers.”

Cargill said its 46 employees at the DSM Port St. Lucie plant will be offered employment by Ventura Foods, and many of the 52 Cargill DSM employees in Gainesville and 197 Cargill DSM employees in Sidney will be retained by Cargill for 15 to 18 months during the Cargill-Ventura Foods co-manufacturing agreement. Cargill employs approximately 1,600 employees in Ohio, 800 in Georgia and 270 in Florida in various businesses, including food ingredients, beef, bio industrial, animal feed and crop marketing.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2016.

Earlier this year, Ventura Foods completed the acquisition of the sauces and condiments business of Etobicoke, Ont.-based Wing’s Food Products. The business became Ventura Foods Canada and now operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Eric Schroeder

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