SUN-MAID ANNOUNCES FIRST ACQUISITION IN 109 YEARS. HERE’S WHAT THEY ARE BUYING
An acquisition by Sun-Maid will put the popular brand onto baby food aisles. Sun-Maid Growers of California announced Wednesday it will purchase Plum Organics, an organic baby food brand from Campbell Soup Co., according to a news release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close this spring. Plum Organics offers food and snacks for babies and children.
This will be the first business acquisition in Sun-Maid’s 109-year history. “Plum is a natural fit for the Sun-Maid family given our expertise, leadership and rapid growth in healthy snacking, along with our strong emotional connection with family households,” said Harry Overly, CEO and president of Sun-Maid, in a statement. “Its acquisition is an integral part of our continued dedication to providing superior products while delivering category growth.” Chris Foley, Campbell’s president of Meals & Beverages, said, “The sale of the Plum Organics baby food brand is part of our ongoing strategic process to create even greater focus on driving growth in the division’s core categories of soup, sauces and beverages.”
Plum Organics was founded in 2007 by a group of parents on a mission to give the very best food to their little ones, according to a news release. Campbell acquired Plum in 2013. Sun-Maid was advised in the deal by Cascadia Capital. Campbell was advised by Evercore. Overly took the reins of Sun-Maid in 2017 with a dedication to bring dried fruit back to popularity.
In a recent presentation to Fresno Rotary Club members, Overly spoke on the decline of dried fruit. “Our brand has almost skipped a generation because they weren’t innovating and communicating,” Overly said. Under Overly’s control, the brand updated its logo, which he said is the most recognizable in the business. They also have launched new products including flavored raisins and yogurt-covered raisins to renew interest in the fruit. Overly said they’re trying to reimagine the dried fruit aisle and make it more of an attraction.
At the production end, Overly said the company has updated its pricing model to better reflect market prices to its cooperative of approximately 750 growers. Previous pricing models had established prices before markets determined where demand existed. Globally, the United States has lost out in market share to countries such as Iran, Turkey and China. In 2018, U.S. volume share was over 18%. By 2020, that share had dipped below 16%.