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PURCHASE, N.Y. -- PepsiCo and international food and beverage company Strauss Group this week have signed an agreement to jointly acquire Sabra, the top-selling and fastest-growing maker of hummus, eggplant dips, babaganoush spreads, and Mediterranean salsa, available in individual and family packs.
PepsiCo's Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) division and Strauss will each own 50 percent of the business. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.
Sabra's products, which are particularly popular in the northeastern United States and Florida, are currently distributed through a combination of independent sales brokers and distributors and its own refrigerated direct-store-delivery system.
Last year total U.S. sales of hummus reached $180 million. The food industry can expect more such partnerships as ethnic cuisines continue to move toward the mainstream, according to observers.
"The American palette does not welcome in new tastes overnight, and for leaders in the food sector, there is a close following of the progress of 'specialty foods,'" said Kristi Bridges, partner and creative director of The Sawtooth Group in Woodbridge, N.J. "First there is the restaurant appeal -- do these niche restaurants succeed beyond major American cities? Second, there is placement for these products in the ethnic aisles in major grocery stores. As both restaurants and niche products gain traction, major food brands see the call to mass market the cuisine."
The transaction is expected to close in early 2008.