Birds Eye has reached an agreement with the family owned Arkansas-based Allan Canning Company, that will see Allen Canning acquire substantially all of Bird's Eye's non-branded frozen vegetable business.

The business processes fresh vegetables, including peas, corn, beans and carrots, and repacks vegetables for major customers including Wal-Mart, Royal Ahold, Kroger, Albertsons, SuperValu, Publix, Associated Wholesale Grocers, SYSCO, Gordon Food Service and US Foodservice. It includes plants in Brockport, Bergen and Oakfield, New York; Fairwater, Wisconsin; and Montezuma, Georgia, and employs almost 700 people.

Allen Canning will also acquire the "Chill Ripe" and "Garden Classics" brand names in the transaction.

"We are excited to be expanding into the frozen vegetable business," said Rick Allen, president and CEO of Allen Canning Company. "This is a natural extension of our canned vegetable business, and will allow us to better serve our existing customers and, at the same time, to build new relationships with many customers that Birds Eye has served over the years. We especially look forward to becoming a part of five communities that are new to us, and to welcoming to our company the dedicated employees that Birds Eye has assembled."

"We are delighted to announce this agreement," said Neil Harrison, chairman, president and CEO, Birds Eye Foods, "and we know that the store brand business will be in good hands with Allen Canning."

The deal is expected to close in December, subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.