Unilever is selling its North American pasta sauces business to Japan’s Mizkan Group.
The sale is part of a refocus by the British-Dutch company, which wants to concentrate on more profitable personal care products, particularly in emerging markets
The Ragu and Bertolli brand sauces sale will bring in the equivalent of 1.6 billion euros.
Unilever has retained the sales rights to Ragu and Bertolli in Europe.
“This sale represents one of the final steps in reshaping our portfolio in North America to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, and enables us to sharpen our focus within our foods business,” Kees Kruythoff, the president of Unilever North America, said in a statement.
“The Ragu and Bertolli business leads the pasta sauce category in the United States, and we believe that the potential of both brands can be fully realised with Mizkan.”
Mizkan has been buying brands – such as Britain’s Sarson’s, Haywards and Dufrais and jalapeño peppers processor Border Foods – to diversify its business from the Japanese market.
The purchase boosts the Japanese condiments maker’s presence in North America’s grocery aisles as declining birth rates and an ageing society stifle growth at home.