Nutraceutical International Corporation today [Friday] announced that Fresh Organics, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, has acquired substantially all of the assets of three San Francisco area neighborhood natural food markets previously owned and operated by the Real Food Company, Inc. for approximately US$2.7m in cash. These neighbourhood markets, operating since the early 1970s, are approximately 3,500 square foot each and cater to local walk-in customers seeking fresh organic produce, healthy natural foods and nutritional supplements. The transaction closed 1 March, 2002.

Bill Gay, chairman and chief executive officer, commented: "The strategic purchase of this chain of successful natural food markets offers a retail presence in a locale many consider to be the birthplace of the health food industry. The day-to-day operation of these natural food markets will provide direct consumer feedback on emerging interests and trends and will help us better serve our core customers. We believe that this retail knowledge and experience will translate into new innovative product offerings for our company.''

Nutraceutical sells its branded products under the brand names Solaray®, KAL®, NaturalMax®, VegLife®, Premier One®, Solar Green®, Natural Sport®, ActiPet®, Action Labs® and Thompson® to health and natural food stores in the United States, and to distributors and stores worldwide.