Unilever said today (19 January) that the agreement to sell its Country Crock chilled side dish line to Hormel Foods is consistent with its efforts to "reshape" its North American portfolio.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer giant today (19 January) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell the licence to its Shedd's Country Crock branded chilled side-dish business in the US to Hormel.

Financial terms are not being disclosed but ownership of the Shedd's Country Crock trademark and its flagship spreads product range remain with Unilever.

Hormel will market and sell the products, such as homestyle mashed potatoes, under a license agreement.

A spokesperson for Unilever told just-food: "This transaction is consistent with our efforts to reshape our portfolio in North America by sharpening our focus on building strong brands with global reach. Even though the Shedd's Country Crock line of chilled side-dishes is a strong player in this segment, we believe growth and leadership will be better managed by a company who has this business at its core.

"We focus on our product categories with the highest growth potential. The Shedd's Country Crock brand is a strategic brand in the spreads category for which Unilever has substantial growth plans," the spokesperson added.

The Country Crock chilled side dish line consists of ten varieties of refrigerated, microwaveable, multi-portion, potato-/pasta-based side dish products. The line, first introduced in 2004, is a "strong player" in the refrigerated side dish segment, Hormel said.

The transaction is expected to be completed by February.