US natural and organic food company Hain Celestial has announced that it has signed a licensing agreement with Stremicks Heritage Foods, a family-owned and operated manufacturer and distributor of organic products, for the trademarks and formulas of Hain Celestial's refrigerated Rice Dream and Soy Dream non-dairy beverage products.

Effective 1 October 2005, Heritage Foods will manufacture, market and distribute Rice Dream and Soy Dream refrigerated products exclusively throughout the United States. The move is expected to benefit both companies with increased distribution.

Hain Celestial said it will continue to focus on its core competency, the shelf stable aseptic business, maintaining category leadership through increased distribution and innovation.

"This agreement is a natural evolution from our partnering with Heritage Foods as contract manufacturer, which should broaden our non-dairy beverage distribution, an area where Heritage Foods is a known leader. Additionally, this initiative allows us to focus on our aseptic products while Heritage complements our efforts in refrigerated non-dairy beverages and enables us to accelerate growth in the non-dairy category," said Irwin Simon, president and CEO of Hain Celestial.