US food group Hain Celestial has sold domestic brands Arrowhead Mills and SunSpire to the private-equity-backed Hometown Food Company.

Baking-to-breakfast brand Arrowhead Mills and SunSpire chocolates become the latest disposals made in the US by Hain Celestial, which is looking to accelerate sales from brands that stay within the business and improve the company’s profitability.

Mark Schiller, Hain Celestial’s president and CEO, said the “strategic divestitures” of the brands showed the company’s “consistent execution of our stated transformational plan to reduce complexity and simplify the brand portfolio”.

In the face of growing competition in the US, Hain Celestial has, in recent years, increasingly talked of a need to “simplify” its portfolio.

Those moves were started under founder – and now former CEO – Irwin Simon in 2016. Last summer, Simon stepped down as CEO, with Schiller – a former PepsiCo and Pinnacle Foods executive – joining last November.

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By GlobalData

Schiller has continued to trim the Hain portfolio, with a focus on profitable growth. And, as well as pruning SKUs, the company has offloaded assets, selling its meats division in February and finding a buyer for a tofu business in May. Last month, the company also agreed to sell Tilda to Spain-based Ebro Foods.

Speaking today (8 October), Schiller said: “We believe the Arrowhead Mills and SunSpire brands will thrive under new ownership as we focus our future initiatives and investments on areas of our business that better leverage our core competencies to improve our margins, profitability and cash flow generation.”

Last week, it was reported in the UK Hain Daniels, the UK-based arm of Hain Celestial, is being eyed by a major private-equity investor in the food industry.

Private-equity house Brynwood Partners created Hometown Food Company last year to house the assets it bought from local food business J.M. Smucker.

At the time, Henk Hartong, the chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners, said the company would “aggressively” look for acquisitions to add to the business. It has agreed to pay a combined US$15m for Arrowhead Mills and SunSpire. The deal includes a manufacturing plant in Hereford in Texas.

Hartong said today: “This acquisition strengthens our industry position by adding improved capabilities in the better-for-you space that we plan to extend into our other categories.”