Tyson acquires Don Julio Foods
by Eric Schroeder
SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Mexican Original, Inc., a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., has acquired the assets of Don Julio Foods. Based in Clearfield, Utah, Don Julio makes flour and corn tortillas, potato chips, tortilla chips and pretzels for distribution throughout the United States under the Don Julio Authentic and Clover Club brands.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tyson Mexican Original is the second largest manufacturer of tortillas in the United States. A majority of its sales are currently with food service customers, but the acquisition of Don Julio is expected to expand the company’s reach to grocery stores.
“Don Julio is an example of a brand that’s the right fit for Tyson Foods,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods said. “The people are great, the business expands on an existing tortilla business where we already have expertise and it will allow us to offer our retail customers another product with a loyal consumer following.”
Tyson said Don Julio’s management team, including Nate Fisher, who is the son of company founder Craig Fisher, will continue to manage the operation. Don Julio employs about 50 people, the majority of whom are expected to become Tyson employees.
Craig Fisher created Don Julio Foods in 1994 as a line of chip, tortilla and dip products. Production was outsourced until 2002 when Mr. Fisher and Nate opened a tortilla manufacturing plant in Clearfield. Soon after beginning to make their own products, the company acquired Clover Club Foods, the same company where Craig Fisher began his career in the food business in the 1980s. Most of the company’s salty snacks are marketed under the Clover Club brand.
Tyson Foods purchased Mexican Original, Inc. in 1983 to diversify its product offerings. Prior to the Don Julio acquisition, the company operated three dedicated tortilla operations in Fayetteville, Ark.; Portland, Ind.; and Sanford, N.C. Mexican Original tortillas and chips are sold to food service and restaurant customers. About 1,300 team members work for Mexican Original.
“We are excited to have the Don Julio folks join our Tyson Foods team,” said Richard Irvin, manager of operations for Mexican Original. “We look forward to working with them and helping them grow the Don Julio and Clover Club brands.”