Mexican poultry group Industrias Bachoco has agreed to acquire Alabama-based Albertville Quality Foods, a manufacturer of consumer meat products including chicken strips and breakfast sausage.
Albertville mostly produces chicken pieces under the AQF and Top Chick Chicken brands. It will be incorporated into Bachoco’s OK Foods subsidiary; Bachoco expects a short turnaround between the announcement, made today, and completion of the deal.
Financial terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed, but sales of Albertville’s value-added meat products generated $270 million last year.
As well as AQF and Top Chick Chicken, the company produces Papa C’s and Southern Quality branded sausage.
Bachoco CEO Rodolfo Ramos said: “With this acquisition, we will continue the growing of our US operation, mainly with further processed products. We are confident that we will be able to quickly integrate this company into our current operations and to capitalise the opportunities and synergies we have identified.”
Bachoco will hope to capitalise on consumer demand for fresh and ready-to-cook chicken products, which offer a convenient mealtime solution while tapping into the trend for food that can be shared with others.
As Birds Eye – the frozen chicken brand – explained in February, there is a desire among shoppers for “casual and versatile adult dining options”.
Mexico’s leading poultry processor, Bachoco will also sense opportunity in Brazil’s carne fraca scandal, with confidence in exports of meat from Brazil – a major poultry exporter – seriously dented by malpractice in the supply chain.
Brazil exported $6.9 billion’s worth of poultry and $5.5 billion of beef last year, Reuters reported, with particular triumphs in exports to the US and China.
But government health officials were accused of accepting bribes to overlook contaminated or even rotten meat destined for export overseas.
The country’s largest poultry firm, BRF, and meat packing giant JBS were among those implicated.
The number of countries that either suspended or curtailed imports of meat from Brazil rose to at least 35, FoodBev reported in March.
Earlier this month, a report from the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture found there was no evidence authorities knew about salmonella contamination in samples of poultry meat prior to it being exported to the European Union (EU).
According to the findings, the samples showed no signs of typhimurium or enteritidis – the two strains of salmonella dangerous to humans – suggesting that authorities had no cause to be suspicious about other shipments of meat.
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