ConAgra Foods has struck a deal to sell two bakeries to US bread maker Alpha Baking.
The US food group is offloading its facilities in Chicago and Grand Rapids, part of its frozen bakery business, a spokesperson for the group confirmed.
“As you know, we evaluate our portfolio on an ongoing basis and work hard to do what’s best for our business and people,” the spokesperson told just-food. “The agreement we’ve signed includes all assets relating primarily to the bakery business assets associated with the manufacturing facilities in Chicago and Grand Rapids.”
ConAgra attained the facilities as part of its acquisition of US private-label business Ralcorp Holdings in 2013. Last year, ConAgra sold the bulk of its private-label business to TreeHouse Foods and decided the two plants were no longer core to its business.
ConAgra said it expects the sale to close within the next 30 days. As part of the sale, employees at both locations will be transferred to Alpha Baking, the spokesperson revealed. Discussions on employment terms are pending. “Alpha Baking will meet with us to discuss employee benefits, pay and other matters,” the spokesperson added.
Alpha Baking makes fresh and frozen baked breads, buns, rolls, bagels and other items for distribution to foodservice operators and retail chains in the midwestern US.
ConAgra, owner of brands including Hunt’s tomato ketchup and Chef Boyardee pasta, is looking to improve its profitability as it battles to improve its sales.
As part of this efficiency drive, earlier this year the company revealed that it is closing two tomato products plants in California. Meanwhile the group is also cutting back office staff. Last October, ConAgra announced it would cut around 1,500 office roles as part of plans to generate US$300m in “efficiency benefits” to boost productivity and profits.
ConAgra is undergoing a major strategic overhaul, with other initiatives to improve profitability including the sale of ConAgra’s private-label business to US own-label supplier TreeHouse Foods, which was finalised in February. ConAgra is now a company with consumer-facing operations and a second business-to-business division supplying potato products. By this autumn, ConAgra hopes to split in two, forming the consumer-focused Conagra Brands and the potato products supplier Lamb Weston.