OMAHA — ConAgra Foods, Inc., has acquired the Marie Callender’s brand trademarks from Marie Callender Pie Shops, Inc., for $57.5 million. Marie Callender Pie Shops, Inc. operates the Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery chain in California and the southwestern United States.

ConAgra said the transaction fits into its strategy of acquiring businesses that add depth and strength to its existing product lines in key strategic pillars such as convenient meals, snacks and meal enhancers.

“ConAgra Foods has experienced great success as a long-term licensee of the Marie Callender’s trademark more than tripling the brand’s annual retail sales in the past 10 years,” said André Hawaux, president of Consumer Foods at ConAgra Foods. “Owning the trademark not only allows for greater control of the brand, but gives us the added flexibility to further grow the Marie Callender’s brand.”

The company’s current Marie Callender’s frozen foods business includes pot pies, desserts and a wide array of single and multi-serve frozen dinners and entrees, sales of which have grown to nearly $800 million annually. Marie Callender’s is now ConAgra Foods’ No. 2 retail brand, after Banquet, selling 284 million frozen meals and desserts each year.

ConAgra Foods originally acquired a license to sell Marie Callender’s frozen meals and pot pies in 1994. In 2010, the company additionally acquired the license for frozen dessert pies held by American Pie, L.L.C.