H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) today announced that it has expanded into the fast-growing U.S. market for Asian sauces with the acquisition of the Yoshida’s brand in North America. Made by Yoshida Food Products Company Limited Partnership of Portland, Oregon, the sauces are offered in a broad range of varieties, such as stir-fry, gourmet, soy-based, teriyaki and Hawaiian. Sales for the brand exceed $20 million annually.

“Yoshida’s is a well-regarded brand and a key player in the Asian sauces business, which is growing in the U.S. at a rate of more than 6 percent annually,” noted H. J. Heinz Company President and Chief Executive Officer William R. Johnson. “Asian sauces are important additions to our global portfolio. Last year, we acquired ABC Indonesia, the world’s second-largest soy sauce company and in March we entered a joint agreement with Nutri Asia, the top producer of ketchup in the Philippines.”

Yoshida’s largest-selling product is Yoshida’s Gourmet Sauce, a soy-based Asian sauce. “The Yoshida’s brand is also a leader in the rapidly expanding club store segment, where it holds a 75 percent market share of its category,” noted Joe Jimenez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heinz North America. “As Americans continue to experiment with international cuisine, prepared sauces are becoming important additions to their pantries.”

Junki Yoshida, Japanese-American, entrepreneur, founded the Yoshida’s brand in 1982. Heinz will partner with Mr. Yoshida to promote the sauces throughout North America. With combined forces, the Yoshida’s brand is expected to grow in popularity. Yoshida sauces are used in grilling, as well as table-top condiments and marinades.

Yoshida Food Products Company will continue to co-pack sauces at its facility in Portland and will maintain its business outside North America, including rights to the Yoshida’s trademark.

Terms of the agreement were not released.

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ABOUT HEINZ: With sales over US$9 billion, H. J. Heinz Company is one of the world’s leading marketers of branded foods to supermarkets and away-from-home eating establishments. Its 50 companies operate in some 200 countries, offering more than 57 hundred varieties. Among the company’s famous brands are Heinz, StarKist, Ore-Ida, 9-Lives, Weight Watchers, Wattie’s, Plasmon, Farley’s, Smart Ones, The Budget Gourmet, Linda McCartney, San Marco, Go Ahead!, Bagel Bites, John West, Petit Navire, Boston Market, Skippy, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Pounce, Wagwells, Nature’s Recipe, Orlando, ABC, Olivine and Pudliszki. Information on Heinz is available at http://www.heinz.com.