Del Monte Foods

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Del Monte Foods
IndustryFood processing
Founded1886; 137 years ago (1886)
Headquarters205 North Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek, California, United States
Area served
Key people
Gregory Longstreet (CEO)
ProductsCanned fruit, fruit cups, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, stocks, broth, sauce, bubble tea, and others
Number of employees
Decrease 7,000 (2022)[1]
ParentDel Monte Pacific Limited[2]
SubsidiariesCollege Inn Foods, S&W Fine Foods, Inc, Contadina Foods Inc, DLM Foods, LLC, Industrias Citricolas de Montemorelos S.A. de C.V[3]

Del Monte Foods Inc. (doing business as Del Monte Foods) is an American food production and distribution company[4] headquartered in Walnut Creek, California.[5] Del Monte Foods is one of the country's largest producers, distributors and marketer of branded processed food for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $1.73 billion of annual sales.[6] Its portfolio of brands includes Del Monte, S&W, Contadina, College Inn, Kitchen Basics, Joyba, and Take Root.[7][8] Greg Longstreet is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Del Monte Foods.[9] Several Del Monte products hold the number one or two market share position.[10] The company also produces, distributes and markets private-label food.

In 2014, Del Monte Foods, Inc. was acquired by Del Monte Pacific Limited in an acquisition deal that cost US$1.67 billion.[11] The pet food division of Del Monte Foods, Inc. was not part of the deal and continued to operate as a separate company under the name Big Heart Pet Brands, Inc.[12][13] The J.M. Smucker Company acquired Big Heart Pet Brands in 2015 for $5.8 billion.[14]


Del Monte Foods' Pittsburgh headquarters. Del Monte shares the building with AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh and the headquarters of former Del Monte subsidiary StarKist Tuna.

In the 1870s and 1880s, California became a major producer of fruits and vegetables. The Hotel Del Monte was a famous resort hotel on the Monterey Peninsula which first built the now Pebble Beach Golf Links.[15]

In the 1880s an Oakland, California foods distributor used the Del Monte name to market a premium blend of coffee that had been prepared for the hotel.[16]

By 1892, the firm expanded its business and selected Del Monte as the brand name for its new line of canned peaches. In 1898, the California Fruit Canners Association (CFCA) formed when 18 West Coast canning companies merged.[17] The Del Monte brand was one of several brands marketed by the new company. It introduced the Del Monte Shield in 1909.[18]

Under the leadership of George Newell Armsby, in 1916, CFCA added Alaska Packers Association, Central California Canneries, two canners, and Griffin & Skelley, a food brokerage house, incorporating itself as California Packing Corporation, or Calpak, and began selling its products under the Del Monte and Sunkist brands.[19][20][21] The new company grew to operate more than 60 canneries in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Alaska. In 1917, it acquired pineapple farms and a cannery in Hawaii and, in the 1920s, added canneries in Florida and the Midwest, as well as in the Philippines. After WWII, it constructed or purchased more facilities overseas.[22] These multinational operations made the name California Packing Corporation obsolete, and in June 1967, the corporation adopted the name of its leading brand to become Del Monte Corporation.[23]

In 1972, Del Monte became the first major US food processor to voluntarily adopt nutritional labeling on all its food products.[24]

Del Monte became part of R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc. (later RJR Nabisco, Inc.) in 1979. After being acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1988, RJR Nabisco sold several Del Monte divisions. The fresh fruit business was sold to Polly Peck.[25] RJR Nabisco retained Del Monte Canada and Venezuela. The remaining food processing divisions, known as Del Monte Foods, were sold to Merrill Lynch, Citicorp Venture Capital, and Kikkoman in 1989. Kikkoman separately acquired Del Monte brand in Asia (excluding Philippines, the Indian subcontinent and Myanmar). In 1990, the European division was subject to a management buyout and Hawaiian Punch was sold to Procter & Gamble.[26][27] Del Monte sold part of its Philippines division in 1991 and the remainder in 1996.[28] In 1993, Del Monte's dried fruit division was sold to Yorkshire Food Group.[29] In 1996, Del Monte sold its pudding division to Kraft.[30] In 1996, Del Monte Mexico was sold to Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; the Central American and Caribbean operations were also sold.[31][32]Texas Pacific Group acquired Del Monte in 1997.[33] Del Monte acquired Contadina from Nestlé in 1997 and reacquired Del Monte Venezuela from Nabisco in 1998.[34][35] Del Monte Foods again became a publicly traded company in 1999, and in 2002, it purchased several brands from US food giant Heinz in an all-stock transaction that left Heinz shareholders with 74.5% of Del Monte and original Del Monte shareholders with 25.5% of the company, and nearly tripled Del Monte Foods' size.[36] Del Monte subsequently established an East Coast headquarters in Pittsburgh, home of Heinz, and in 2021 moved their headquarters to Penn Center West.[37]

Del Monte Foods plant

Del Monte acquired the worldwide rights to the SunFresh brand, a brand of premium citrus and tropical fruits, in 2000.[18] In March of the following year, it acquired the worldwide rights to the S&W brand of processed fruit, vegetable, tomato and specialty sauce products.[38]

On September 28, 2004, the site of Del Monte's former Plant No. 1 in San Francisco was dedicated as Del Monte Square. It was once the world's largest fruit and vegetable cannery.[39]

In 2006, Del Monte became the second largest pet foods company upon divesting its US infant feeding business and US retail private label soup and gravy businesses and acquiring two key pet brands. The company sold its Soup and Infant Feeding business in April 2006 to TreeHouse Foods, Inc.[40] Del Monte bought Meow Mix in May 2006,[41] and acquired Milk-Bone in July of that year from Kraft Foods. Also in 2006, Faribault Foods acquired the perpetual license of S&W branded dry soaked beans for North America from Del Monte.[42]

In June 2008, Del Monte announced the sale of its seafood division, StarKist, to South Korea-based Dongwon Enterprise Company. Dongwon purchased the business for $363 million. Del Monte stated that StarKist was no longer a good fit for the company and that they would be concentrating on pet food and higher margin produce.[43]

On March 8, 2011, the company announced it had been acquired by an investor group led by funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and with PediaBears Wholesome Foods, Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners.[44] The stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange prior to the start of trading on March 9, 2011.[45]

On February 19, 2014, Philippines based food producer Del Monte Pacific Limited completed the purchase of Del Monte's consumer food business, for US$1.675 billion.[46] The remaining company consisted of the pet food division and was renamed Big Heart Pet Brands.[47]

In 2015, Del Monte Foods acquired Sager Creek, owner of the Vegetable, Freshlike, Popeye, Trappley's and Allen's brands of canned vegetables.[48] Del Monte Foods sold the Sager Creek brands to McCall Farms in 2017.[49] Also in 2015, Del Monte Foods moved its headquarters to Walnut Creek, California from San Francisco.[50]

Del Monte Foods worldwide[edit]

Del Monte Foods markets packaged food products under the Del Monte brand in the United States.[51]

Lotte Chilsung, a South Korean Company, partnered with Del Monte Juice Products in 1982.[52]

Kikkoman acquired Del Monte Asia in 1989.[53]

US-based Del Monte Foods retains the rights to the Del Monte brand, which is licensed by other entities around the world.[54] The Del Monte brand in Canada was retained by Nabisco when the rest of the business was sold. Nabisco merged with Kraft in 2000. In 2006 Kraft sold Del Monte and other underperforming assets to Sun Capital Partners and EG Capital.[55] ConAgra Foods acquired Del Monte Canada in 2012.[56] In 2018, Del Monte Canada was acquired by Bonduelle.[57]

Del Monte's Central American and Caribbean operations were sold to local investors in 1996.[32]

Del Monte Europe (including African operations) was subject to a management buyout in 1990 and renamed Del Monte International. Cirio acquired Del Monte International in 2001.[58] After Cirio's bankruptcy, Del Monte Europe was acquired by Fresh Del Monte Produce.[59]

In 1996, Del Monte Mexico was sold to Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst.[31] It later became part of Hicks Muse holding International Home Foods, which was acquired by ConAgra Foods in 2000.

Del Monte sold stakes in Del Monte Philippines to Kikkoman and Del Monte International in 1991. In 1996 Del Monte and Kikkoman sold their stakes and Del Monte International and Macondray & Co., Inc. (owned by the Lorenzo family) became joint owners. Del Monte Pacific became the parent company and became publicly traded in 1999. Cirio acquired Del Monte International in 2001. In 2005, Macondray and Cirio sold their controlling stakes in Del Monte Pacific to NutriAsia, maker of UFC Catsup.[58][60] In 2014, Del Monte Pacific acquired Del Monte Foods.[61]

The Del Monte brand in South America was retained by Nabisco when the rest of the business was sold. Del Monte Foods reacquired Del Monte South America from Nabisco in 1998.[35]

Fresh Del Monte Produce was created in 1989 when RJR Nabisco sold the fresh fruit division of Del Monte Foods to Polly Peck.[25] Mohammed Abu-Ghazaleh purchased Fresh Del Monte in 1996.[62] The company went public in 1997.[63]

Del Monte Dried Fruit was sold to Yorkshire Food Group in 1993. Yorkshire's US division became Premier Valley Foods. Premier Valley Foods was sold to a group led by Brent Enterprises in 2003.[64] Premier Valley was later acquired by Sunsweet Growers.[65]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

A 1953 Alcoa Aluminum advertisement featured a Del Monte Ketchup bottle with the caption "you mean a woman can open it?" The ad, which is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Del Monte, has been seen as a symbol of casual sexism in the United States during the 1950s.[66][67]

In 1977, Del Monte was accused of profiting from the South African apartheid regime after sardines used in some of the company's products were found to have been sourced from the coast of Namibia which was under South African control at the time. The revelation caused uproar among international civil rights organizations, with some activists calling for a boycott of Del Monte products.[68]

In January 2007, Del Monte Foods was accused of opposing efforts by the United States Congress to apply the continental minimum wage to the lower-paying tuna packing plants in American Samoa. On January 16, 2007, Melissa Murphy Brown, spokesperson for Del Monte, stated that the application would "severely cripple the local economy." She also stated that "For over 50 years, the Federal Department of Labor has provided that wages in U.S. territories, including American Samoa, be set by a federally appointed wage board, following public hearings".[69]

Del Monte Worldwide[edit]

Consumer brands[edit]

  • Del Monte
  • S&W (S&W Fine Foods, acquired in 2001)
  • Contadina
  • College Inn
  • Kitchen Basics
  • Joyba
  • Take Root
  • Quick 'n Easy
  • Fit 'n Right
  • Vinamilk



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External links[edit]