Simplot Australia takes control of prominent frozen food brands

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th December 2009

Simplot Australia has now taken over the frozen meals brands of Nestlé after reaching an agreement a couple of months ago.

The Melbourne-based subsidiary of US firm J R Simplot took control of the licence of prominent frozen meals brand Lean Cuisine and Maggi frozen brand at the end of November. The deal also involves the acquisition of the Papa Giuseppi frozen pizza brand and the manufacturing facility at Pakenham in Victoria.

The Pakenham factory will become the cornerstone manufacturing facility and is now operating as the Gippsland Food Company.

Gippsland Food Company will work as a stand alone business with the aim of becoming the leading supplier to the Australasian ready meals market, Simplot said.

Under the licensing agreement for Lean Cuisine and Maggi frozen foods Simplot Australia will acquire the right to manufacture, market and sell the products throughout Australia and New Zealand.

“Our strategy is based around building leading brands through superior product offering, innovation and exceptional service. Another key growth platform has been acquiring assets and brands that are a sound strategic fit and benefit from the company’s capabilities and capacity,” Terry O’Brien, Managing Director of Simplot Australia, explained. “We are a leading player in the frozen vegetables, potatoes and seafood categories through our Birds Eye and I&J brands. The license agreement and relationship with Nestlé is extremely exciting for us as it will add tremendous value to our existing frozen foods expertise.”

“Moving into ready meals is a logical extension of our offer…”

Mr Graham Campbell, Managing Director, Nestlé Australia Ltd said the agreement, which was similar to other arrangements entered into by Nestlé in both Australia and internationally, made business sense for both parties enabling each of them to concentrate on and pursue their respective areas of strength.

“This represents a great opportunity to grow the Lean Cuisine brand, which is recognised as a leading brand in Nestlé’s global nutrition health and wellness portfolio,” he advised. “We look forward to further developing what has become a significant brand within the Healthy Frozen Food sector here in Australia and we are confident that Papa Giuseppi and the balance of Pakenham’s portfolio will contribute strongly to the success of Gippsland Food Company.”