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Lassonde buys U.S.-based Summer Garden as it looks to grow in specialty food

Ohio company makes a range of premium sauces and condiments
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
Summer Garden brand G Hughes Sugar Free Sauce.
Summer Garden brand G Hughes Sugar Free Sauce.

Quebec-headquartered Lassonde Industries Inc. has struck a deal to acquire The Zidian Group, parent company of U.S.-based Summer Garden Food Manufacturing, for US$235 million.

Boardman, Ohio-based Summer Garden develops, manufactures and markets a range of premium sauces and condiments, including tomato and cream-based pasta sauces, BBQ sauces, dipping sauces and dressings. 

Its portfolio consists of approximately 250 products sold through more than 20,000 locations under the Gia Russa and Little Italy in the Bronx brands and under the G Hughes brand. 

Summer Garden also acts as a co-packer for some brands.

The company employs some 200 people.

The agreement, entered through one of Lassonde’s U.S. subsidiaries, may include an additional payment of US$45 million over the next three years, pending financial targets and other conditions are met, Lassonde said. 

"The acquisition of Summer Garden supports our ambition to become a more diversified North American food and beverage company," said Nathalie Lassonde, CEO and vice-chair of the board of directors of Lassonde Industries Inc., in a release. "Growing our specialty food activities is one of Lassonde's key strategic objectives and we are happy to have found the right company to help us achieve this objective. Our culture and values align with those of Summer Garden, which is also a multi-generational family business, with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong commitment to its employees, customers, consumers and the communities in which it operates. We are looking forward to closing the transaction and welcoming new talented employees to the Lassonde organization."

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