Church Brothers Acquires Green Giant Fresh Value-added Line


Church Brothers Farms, Salinas, Calif., has acquired Green Giant Fresh’s value-added vegetable business from Growers Express. The purchase gives Church Brothers all of Growers Express’ fresh vegetable programs, according to a Church Brothers news release. Details of the transaction are not being disclosed. It includes Grower Express’ facility and equipment in Gonzales, Calif.

A year ago, Church Brothers acquired the commodity vegetable business from Growers Express, with a licensing agreement to extend the Green Giant Fresh brand to new varieties in partnership with Growers Express.

Growers Express retains the master licensing agreement for Green Giant Fresh and has a frozen business that includes vegetable noodles and rice and cut vegetables.

The value-added line is being absorbed into the existing sublicense with Growers Express. There are more than 130 Growers Express employees who worked in the value-added division, and most are expected to join Church Brothers, according to the release.

“Taking over an existing program allows us to invest in innovation that will build our business as we expand our capabilities and resources,” Rick Russo, vice president of strategic growth and planning, said in the release. “The expansion of our existing value-add salad and vegetable program will also allow us to offer more to our foodservice customers.”

Church Brothers’ Green Giant Fresh commodity program is shipped from Gonzales, and maintaining employees there provides continuity of service and quality assurance, Russo said in the release.

Church Brothers Farms continues to grow raw product for Green Giant Fresh’s value-added vegetable business, according to the release.

“This is a mutually beneficial scenario that allows us to focus on our frozen vegetable business while we partner with Church Brothers and other vegetable growers to expand into new products and categories with our successful Green Giant Fresh licensed brand,” Growers Express President Tom Byrne said in the release. “Church Brothers Farms has been a true partner for many years, and we’ve come closer together during the past year as we integrated our commodity team into the Church Brothers family.

“I am confident this transition will be as successful and that it will allow both organizations to leverage our strengths for mutual gain,” Byrne said in the release.

Growers Express has other properties not included in the Church Brothers’ acquisition, including a cooling facility in Gonzales, a processing facility in Biddeford, Maine, and a frozen processing operation in Yuma, Ariz., according to the release.

By The Packer