With its recently announced acquisition of Premier Foods’ portfolio of packaged grocery brands, The Hain Celestial Group is growing its Hain Daniels Group and expanding internationally in a big way.
“When we acquired the Daniels Group, we planned to build upon its leadership position and use its platform for organic growth as well as future acquisition growth in the United Kingdom,” said Irwin D. Simon, founder, president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial. “The strategic initiatives launched in the United Kingdom build upon the successful long-term growth of products in the chilled category achieved by Rob Burnett and his enhanced team who we expect will continue to leverage the Hain Daniels footprint into adjacent categories to deliver superior growth and profitable returns. In order for Hain Daniels to become one of the largest healthy food companies in the United Kingdom, we needed to expand Hain Daniels’ base into ambient grocery where we can leverage Hain Celestial’s track record of success in the U.S. and Canada.”
The acquisition is expected to close at the end of October, and the company’s overall strategy of acquisitions helped contribute to a 44% increase in income during the fiscal year. During fiscal 2012, not only did the company complete its acquisition of The Daniels Group in the U.K., but it also acquired Cully & Sully brand fresh chilled soups in Ireland and Europe’s Best frozen fruits and vegetables brand in Canada. Company sales during the year were $1.378 billion.
“I am pleased with the smart strategic acquisitions the company has made,” Mr. Simon said. “Our acquisitions of The Greek Gods Greek-style yogurt and Sensible Portions snacks have experienced double-digit growth under Hain Celestial’s ownership over the past two years. This year, we integrated GG UniqueFiber crackers from Norway into our United States distribution and Danival organic products from France into Hain Celestial Europe. Most recently, our acquisition of Daniels Group in the United Kingdom has provided us with a strong base for fresh chilled products, including soup, which we look forward to launching in the United States marketplace in the near future, as well as a platform to launch Linda McCartney chilled ready meals and The Greek Gods Greek-style yogurt in the United Kingdom.”
Along with acquisitions, the company has grown through expanded distribution in the United States as it has taken its distribution beyond Whole Foods. Mr. Simon said Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Target Stores are providing opportunity by increasing their focus on healthy eating, and they also are seeing growth in sales from Amazon.
“Whole Foods is still our biggest customer,” Mr. Simon said. “Whole Foods will continue to open up more and more stores, so there’s a lot of growth in those engines. But our biggest consumption growth today is coming from supermarkets and mass markets. So it’s not just sold in Whole Foods and in Trader’s Joe’s today or natural independents — natural-organic is spreading across grocery and mass market.