McCormick swallows Asian food brands

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cooking Asia

The world's leading spice manufacturer McCormick has bought
Epicurean International's portfolio of Thai cooking ingredients and
convenience foods for $97m (€77m).

The deal includes Epicurean International's Simply Asia and Thai Kitchen brands, which currently take a 59 per cent share of the US Thai grocery market.

"We have gained a strong foothold in the Asian food category with the addition of the Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia brands. Since 2002, sales have grown at an annual rate of 32 per cent and have reached $50m. We welcome the Epicurean employees and look forward to working together on the future expansion of this business,"​ said McCormick's chairman Robert Lawless.

Epicurean International's chief financial officer David Sakamoto said the deal will allow his company's products to be further developed and distributed more widely.

Analysts predict demand for Asian-influenced foods is set to rise, as increasing numbers of affluent Europeans and North Americans travel abroad and develop tastes for exotic foods. But many firms are still failing to tap the growing trend.

Recently iconic food manufacturer Heinz sought to extend its reach in the sector. The US-based company bought a perpetual licence to market HP's expanding Amoy Asian range throughout Europe, as total market value swells to £1bn in the UK alone.

It acquired the brand last year, along with some lesser-known Asian ranges. The American food giant has since agreed to sell parts of this ethnic foods business, bought from Danone in a bundle for £470m, to Associated British Foods. But it intends to keep the successful Amoy range.

The deal will see Heinz passing on brands such as Rajah, Green Dragon and Lotus, as the company reduces its portfolio to concentrate on key areas.

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