Fresh Del Monte Produce and Del Monte Pacific Ltd. have entered into a series of joint ventures, including Del Monte retail outlets in the U.S.
At those stores, Del Monte will offer “hearty salads,” including some with protein, fresh-cut fruit salads, sandwiches, vegetables in wraps, smoothies, juices, and hummus and yogurt, according to an investor relations document on the ventures.
The companies are not disclosing how many retail locations they plan to open or where they will be. However, Fresh Del Monte Produce chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh suggested that the company could start establishing a retail presence soon.
He hinted at a tentative timeline in the investor document while addressing whether the joint ventures would change the companies’ debt situation.
“If any of these businesses will be requiring any capital, it will be minimal, even on the (food and beverage) concept that will be introduced hopefully during end of this year or early next year,” Abu-Ghazaleh, said on a conference call. “It will be with minimal capital.”
Fresh Del Monte has 16 outlets in the Middle East, according to the document. Those stores are a combination of grab-and-go and dine-in locations. The U.S. locations will be modeled after the “already successful” concept in the Middle East, according to a news release.
A rendering of one Del Monte food and beverage outlet (see above) shows a format in an airport, with fresh fruit and other options and an area to sit and eat.
“We are very optimistic that the same concept can be applied successfully in the U.S.,” Rolando Gapud, chairman of Del Monte Pacific, said on a conference call.
The first Del Monte food and beverage store opened in 2011 in the United Arab Emirates, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Fresh Del Monte.
The companies are also partnering on a line of chilled juices, on extended-shelf life refrigerated fruit products, and on extended-shelf life refrigerated avocado products like guacamole. Fresh Del Monte currently sells chilled juices in Kenya, the Middle East and Europe.
Del Monte Pacific and Fresh Del Monte are not yet saying when the various joint ventures will be operational.
“We are in the early stages of creating the businesses, so we have a lot of work to do,” the companies said in the document. “We need to build separate organizational structures, finalize capital structures, and other customary transition steps.”
The executives said business plans should be completed in the next several months and they should have more information to share then.
The ventures have been in the works for the last several months.
Resolution of disputes between the companies related to licensing rights and product distribution allowed Fresh Del Monte and Del Monte Pacific to partner on the various ventures.
“We are pleased that we have resolved our differences and put to rest the financial uncertainty that can arise from prolonged litigation,” Gapud said in the release.