Hormel Foods has announced today (4 April) that it has acquired Valley Fresh for US$78m. Valley Fresh has annual sales of approximately $68m and Hormel expects the deal to be accretive to its 2006 earnings.

Valley Fresh is the market leader in the canned ready-to-eat chicken category and distributes more than 50 convenient precooked chicken products on a national basis, primarily under the Valley Fresh brand.

“Our acquisition of Valley Fresh further strengthens the portfolio within our Grocery Products business segment,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president and chief executive officer. “This healthy and convenient line of products is on-trend with today’s consumer and we are excited about the growth opportunity within this category. We now have the number one position in several key shelf-stable categories, including canned ready-to-eat chicken, canned luncheon meat and canned chili and stew,” Ettinger stated.

“Valley Fresh provides manufacturing capabilities that will deliver synergies to our existing canned ready-to-eat chicken line of products. We will also benefit from leveraging the Hormel Foods purchasing, sales, marketing and logistics systems,” Ettinger concluded.