Hormel Foods Corp. has been a conservative investor, but it announced its biggest acquisition on May 26, offering $775 million for natural and organic meat company Applegate Farms LLC. Applegate 2015 sales are expected to be about $340 million.
“A growing number of consumers are choosing natural and organic products. This deal allows us to expand the breadth of our protein offerings to provide consumers more choice,” said Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman and president/CEO of Hormel. “The Applegate team has built a great brand, and consumers can rest assured there will not be any changes to the way Applegate meats are raised and produced. Together, we can provide a faster path to expanded offerings in this high-growth category.”
Applegate will operate autonomously as a standalone subsidiary in Hormel's Refrigerated Foods segment. Applegate has 100 employees located primarily in Bridgewater, N.J., and the company will be managed by the core Applegate team plus a few executives from Hormel, who will relocate to Bridgewater. Applegate has strategic relationships with a diverse set of manufacturers and processors who draw from approximately 1,800 family farms.
“Over the last 28 years Applegate has brought transparency and clean ingredients to American favorites and classics like hot dogs, bacon and deli meat,” said Stephen McDonnell, Applegate founder and long-time CEO. “It was my mission from the start to change the way we think about meat – how it’s raised and produced – and this agreement is definitely a continuation of that mission.”