Bertolli is a brand of Italian food products. Originating as a brand of extra-virgin olive oil, in which it was the global market leader, but has now widened its range to include pasta sauces and ready meals.
The company was founded by Francesco Bertolli in 1865, in Lucca, Tuscany. The company was bought by Unilever, which then sold the olive oil business to Grupo SOS (currently Grupo Deoleo), Spain’s second-largest food group, for £500m as part of its disposal of non-core businesses, in 2008. The transaction included the sale of the Italian Maya, Dante, and San Giorgio olive oil and seed oil businesses, as well as the factory at Inveruno, Province of Milan, Lombardy. The frozen foods business under the Bertolli brand name was subsequently sold by Unilever to ConAgra Foods in August 2012. On May 22, 2014, Unilever agreed to sell its North American pasta sauce business under the Ragú and Bertolli brands to the Mizkan Group of Japan for $2.15 billion, while these brands are owned in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Symington's, a private label food manufacturer.
The frozen meals sold by Bertolli are branded under "Meals for One", "Meals for Two" and "Dessert" categories. Sales have fallen in the 2014 year for the frozen foods brands. ConAgra has also focused in 2015 on growth in private-label products that retailers sell under their own brand. Bertolli's market share in pasta sauce in 2015 is 7.2% behind Ragu and Prego.
- Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Bertolli Classico Olive Oil
- Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
In 2018, Deoleo (The parent company) agreed to pay a $7 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit that had alleged that the company had misrepresented Bertolli olive oil, and committed to undertake several actions to correct such misrepresentation. The suit alleged that it was misleading for Bertolli to advertize its olive oil as being "Imported from Italy" when the oils actually came from olives grown and pressed in Greece, Chile, Spain, Australia, Turkey, and Tunisia, and had merely been mixed and bottled in Italy. Deoleo removed the phrase "Imported from Italy" from its products and committed not to use similar phrasing in the future unless the oil is derived entirely from olives grown and pressed in Italy. Additionally, the suit alleged that the clear bottles used by Bertolli for its oil were inadequate to protect them from sunlight and temperature extremes, such that the olive oil would not meet the "extra virgin" quality standard by the time it reached consumers. As part of the settlement, Deoleo implemented several new practices to help ensure that its oil would meet the "extra virgin" standard at the time of sale and use: using dark green bottles to protect its extra virgin olive oil from photooxidation; implementing stricter testing protocols; disclosing the date on which the olives used to make the oil were harvested on the bottle; and shortening “best by” period indicated on the bottle.
- "Unilever enters olive oil market with clever packaging". Food Production Daily. 13 December 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- "Unilever disposes Bertolli Olive Oil to Grupo SOS". Unilever. 21 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- "ConAgra Foods Inc Completes Acquisition of Bertolli and P.F. Chang`s Frozen Meals Businesses from Unilever PLC". ConArgaFoods.com. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Bray, Chad (22 May 2014). "Unilever to Sell Ragu and Bertolli Brands". The New York Times.
- "Consumer goods major Unilever sells Ragu and Bertolli brands". Japan Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Unilever sells Chicken Tonight and Ragu for £30m". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
- "Frozen Meals". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "UPDATE 2-ConAgra says recovery in private-label business to take longer". Reuters. 2014-12-18. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "Ragu, Bertolli Make Agency Change Under New Ownership". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "Tests indicate that imported "extra virgin"olive oil often fails international and USDA standards". Olive Center, University of California, Davis. July 2010.
- Siegner, Cathy (November 28, 2018). "Olive oil producer claims victory in mislabeling and false claims lawsuits". Food Dive. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
- Bucher, Anne (6 April 2018). "Bertolli Olive Oil Class Action Lawsuit Settled for $7M". Top Class Actions. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
- Colman, Tracy (8 August 2017). "Deoleo Inc. Charged with Mislabeling Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil". Top Class Actions. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
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