(UPDATED COVERAGE, 5:20 p.m.) Calavo Growers, Santa Paula, Calif., has signed an agreement to acquire Renaissance Food Group LLC and its Garden Highway brand.
The acquisition for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock is expected to be finalized June 1.
Lee Cole, Calavo’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said there are no plans to rebrand Garden Highway, which commonly displays side by side with Calavo products in the deli sections of produce departments in Safeway, Vons and other stores.
“We’ll be branding some new products but will utilize both brands,” Cole said. “Both will still be displayed there.”
Rancho Cordova, Calif.-based Renaissance Food Group had 54% compound annual sales growth through 2010 from its inception in 2003. Revenues are forecast to exceed $100 million this year. The company has 400 employees and operates six processing facilities nationwide, of which it owns two — one each in Sacramento, Calif., and Houston.The acquisition brings Calavo about halfway to its goal of $1 billion in annual sales, Cole said. Calavo’s sales were $400 million last year. The acquisition is expected to immediately accrue to earnings.
Renaissance Food Group will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Calavo Foods business unit, whose products include Calavo’s all-natural guacamole, the Salsa Lisa line of fresh salsas, guacamole hummus and tortilla chips.
Renaissance offers retail product lines for produce, deli, meat and foodservice. Produce lines include fresh-cut fruit, ready-to-eat vegetables and Chef Essentials vegetables, including asparagus sauté and savory butternut squash. Deli lines include ready-to-eat salads, fresh snacks, deli-style sandwiches, wraps and fresh party trays.
Renaissance plans to draw on the new parent company’s fresh produce sourcing abilities, as well as Calavo’s Value Added Depots for ripening needs.
Jim Catchot, Ken Catchot and Jim Gibson established Renaissance Food Group.
Renaissance’s delivery speed and logistics made it stand out among other companies, Cole said.
“They work with co-packers across the country,” he said. “One of the unique or rare things here is the store can order product one day — vegetable trays, food trays, wraps, whatever — and get it the next. Especially with cut fruits, it’s important to get it as fresh as you can possibly get it.”
The acquisition first came up two years when officials of both companies met during a Produce Marketing Association convention.
“We’ve analyzed them up one side and down the other,” Cole said. “Their business has been growing rapidly.”
“It means we’ll have another sales force out there selling our products,” Cole said. “It’ll be a lot more important to our retailers because we’re going to have more items they’re carrying.”