Bertolli is an Italian food brand. Originating as a brand of extra-virgin olive oil, it grew into an international brand of Italian and Mediterranean food. The company was founded by Francesco Bertolli in 1865, in Lucca, Tuscany. The company was bought by Unilever.
Bertolli is known for its olive oil, in which it was the global market leader, but has now widened its range to include pasta sauces and ready meals. In 2008, Unilever 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. 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. Unilever retained the Bertolli brand for all other categories including margarine, pasta sauces, and frozen meals. The frozen foods business under the Bertolli brand name was 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 Ragu and Bertolli brands to the Mizkan Group of Japan for $2.15 billion.
Bertolli brand sells olive oil as well as ready meals. Some controversy emerged in 2010 when Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil was identified as one of the olive oils mislabeled as extra virgin in a study by University of California, Davis. Bertolli's market share in pasta sauce in 2015 is 7.2% behind Ragu and Prego.
The frozen meals it sells 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.
- "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.
- "Tests indicate that imported "extra virgin"olive oil often fails international and USDA standards" (PDF). Olive Center, University of California, Davis. July 2010.
- "Ragu, Bertolli Make Agency Change Under New Ownership". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- "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.
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