JBS spots global growth opportunities in Italian premium deli sector

By Oliver Morrison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/VladimirMironov
Image: Getty/VladimirMironov

Related tags: Meat, deli meat

The Brazilian meat giant is shifting to bresaola, Parma Ham and prosciutto after buying Italian brands King’s and Principe.

In a deal worth €82 million (US$ 92.5 million) JBS has acquired the 100-year old Italian delicatessen manufacturer King’s Group.

King’s Group, via the King’s and Principe brands, is present in more than 20 countries and is the market leader in the production of Prosciutto di San Daniele D.O.P. It also “an important player”, said JBS in the production of Prosciutto di Parma D.O.P. The group also produces specialties like GranSpeck and Prosciutto Veneto D.O.P. 

The purchase will be carried out by JBS’s local subsidiary Rigamonti, one of the leaders in bresaola production.

With the acquisition, JBS will gain four production sites in Italy: two in the province of Parma, one in Vicenza and the fourth in Udine.

It also gains Principe’s entire operation in the United States, which includes a plant dedicated to slicing and cutting parts in New Jersey.

The deal covers the commercial operations of two historic brands “renowned for their high quality in the Italian delicatessen market,”​ said JBS.

King’s, founded in 1907 in Sossano in the Veneto region is recognized by the Italian government as a ‘Historical Brand of National Interest’. The Principe brand was founded in 1945 in Trieste in the region of Friulli-Venezia Giulia. Rigamonti also now holds a 20% equity stake in Piggly, Italy’s first producer of sustainable, 100% antibiotic-free pigs, with facilities in Mantova and Verona.

The purchase of the two historic brands gives JBS a structure for producing and distributing authentic Italian specialties with certification of origin. It is believed the deal will be key to the expansion of JBS in Europe, the United States, where it is building a new Italian meats and charcuterie facility due to open in 2022, and other regions.

The company will now have a portfolio and structure for producing and distributing authentic Italian specialties like prosciutto, bresaola, bologna sausage, speck and salami with certification of origin, using craft manufacturing and curing techniques.

“This acquisition is in line with our strategic approach of growing in high value-added products. It puts us among the leaders in Italian ‘salumeria’ and leverages our commercial strategy in the US, where we are investing US$ 200 million in an Italian specialties plant. The growth potential of the King’s and Príncipe brands in Europe and the United States is significant,”​ said Gilberto Tomazoni, JBS global CEO.

“We are certain that JBS will work to preserve the intangible value of our brands and products with certification of origin, protecting the history of these veritable items of Italian heritage as it has already done with Rigamonti,”​ said Claudio Palladi, Rigamonti CEO. 

Luca Bucchini, managing director of Italy-based Hylobates Consulting, said of the deal: "The Italian specialty sector remains appealing, despite challenges like the rise of vegetarianism, claims of lack of sustainability and front of pack nutritional labeling. Bresaola, a type of an air dried, salted meat, is of particular interest because of its high protein content, and low fat content. Therefore, JBS can effectively access a range of certified traditional products, which have been reported to grow in sales despite Covid. However, preserving the quality of these products requires adequate resources and investment; success of traditional products is contingent on respecting traditional methods and relevant, detailed rules, and maintaining high quality."

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