Hormel Gobbling Up Applegate Farms For $775M

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 9.22.53 AMIn a sign of the times, Hormel Foods Corp., the maker of Spam, is trying for that natural foods feeling and has decided that buying Applegate Farms for $775 million is the way to achieve it.

The acquisition is expected to close in the next two months, reports Bloomberg News, as Hormel eyes all those organic-minded customers buying apple sausages and “natural” bacon.

Applegate Farms will be bringing a slew of natural and organic sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts, chicken strips and other meat products to Hormel, under a brand that sources meat from around 1,800 family farms.

Putting Spam and natural food together under one roof might seem odd, but Applegate will still operate as its own brand inside the company, with some Hormel workers heading to work at Applegate’s offices in New Jersey.

Applegate Farms addresses the move on its website, with a FAQ section about why it decided to sell itself to Hormel, while reassuring customers that it’ll have the “same products” “same standards” and “same mission: to change the meat we eat.”

“The only difference now is that our new partner, Hormel Foods, will offer more opportunity to find your favorite Applegate products in more places,” the site says, with a link to another statement by company founder Stephen McDonnell about the merger.

He writes of having a stroke in December 2013 that has made it harder for him to lead, and that he believes Hormel is buying the company “because they believe we are doing something right.”

“For years I’ve been saying to anyone who would listen that the Applegate model of antibiotic-free, humanely raised animal agriculture could be scaled up and that the big meat companies should get on board. This is it,” writes McDonnell.

Hormel isn’t the first big food name to buy into the natural aisle of the grocery store: Last year General Mills agreed to buy Annie’s Inc., a company that peddles organic snacks like bunny crackers and fruit snacks as well as salad dressings and pasta mixes for $820 million.

Hormel Foods Agrees to Buy Applegate Farms for $775 Million [Bloomberg]

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