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    Maple Leaf Foods Expands Artisan Bread Line with Acquisition

    TORONTO - Canadian food processing company Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has expanded its artisan bread product line with the acquisition of San Francisco-based Grace Baking Company.

    TORONTO - Canadian food processing company Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has expanded its artisan bread product line with the acquisition of San Francisco-based Grace Baking Company. Grace Baking, a leading independent producer of fresh and frozen artisan bread products, operates from a manufacturing facility in Richmond, Calif., and has annual revenue of about $18 million.

    "Grace Baking brings to Maple Leaf Bakery a wealth of knowledge, experience and a brand reputation for producing premium quality artisan bread products," said Richard Lan, president and COO of Maple Leaf's Bakery Products Group.

    Added Douglas MacFarlane, president of Maple Leaf Bakery USA: "This acquisition expands the range of products that we can offer to our customers, and is highly complementary to our existing par bake business. It will allow us to respond to rapidly growing consumer demand for these high-end bakery products in both fresh and frozen product lines."

    Grace Baking was founded in 1987 as a retail bakery and grew into the leading fresh artisan bread bakery in the San Francisco area. The company began producing frozen artisan bread products several years ago, and sells to national and regional grocers and restaurants. The company produces products such as Pugliese, Garlic and Potato Rosemary breads, made with all natural ingredients.

    The founders and principal shareholders of the company, Cindy and Glenn Mitchell and Fred Doar, will remain to support the growth of the artisan bread line across Maple Leaf Bakery. Glenn Mitchell is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and one of the few bakers to have won a Gold Cup at the prestigious Coup de Monde de la Boulangerie in France.

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