Perdue Farms to buy Chipotle pork supplier Niman Ranch
Privately held Perdue expects to "soon" close a deal to buy Natural Food Holdings, which owns the Niman Ranch brand, from private equity firm LNK Partners, according to a statement. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal marks the latest move by a big food company seeking to expand its presence in the fast-growing U.S. natural foods market. It risks displeasing some consumers, who are attracted to Niman Ranch's reputation for working with independent farmers and raising animals without antibiotics.
The deal "will allow us to produce more pork of our quality," Tripician said. "Whether that goes to Chipotle or Whole Foods or Sprouts or Vitamin Cottage or the great restaurants, that's kind of an internal issue of what's the right way to grow."
Sales at natural and organic retailers rose 9 percent in the past year, compared with a 1.3 percent gain at supermarket chains and other conventional retailers, according to data from Spins, a market research firm that tracks data from store scanners.
In May, spam-maker Hormel Foods Corp said it would buy the natural and organic meat processor Applegate Farms for $775 million.
Last year, General Mills Inc, the maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes, said it would acquire organic food producer Annie's Inc for about $820 million.
In other words, the food industry continues its massive consolidation.