Perdue Farms Inc. agreed to acquire Natural Food Holdings and its Niman Ranch brand, a pork supplier for Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., as part of its goal to expand into organic and antibiotic-free meat.
Closely held Perdue, the third-largest U.S. chicken producer, said in a statement Tuesday it’s buying the the business from private-equity firm LNK Partners. Perdue didn’t disclose terms for the deal, which is expected to be completed soon.
Chairman Jim Perdue, whose grandfather founded the Salisbury, Maryland-based company in 1920, has targeted premium- quality meats that appeal to health-conscious consumers. He bought Coleman Natural Foods in 2011, selling organic chicken cuts and cooked sausages under that brand. It’s now the largest U.S. producer of organic chicken.
Niman Ranch will give Perdue pork, beef, lamb, cage-free eggs and a variety of smoked and cured meats sourced from animals raised to “high welfare standards” and without any antibiotics, according to the statement. Niman includes more than 700 independent family farmers and ranchers across the U.S.
“This represents the next chapter in our growth through premium proteins and trusted brands," Perdue said.
Perdue intends to increase the number of family farmers in the Niman network and expand distribution into more U.S. cities, President Randy Day said in the statement.
In another natural meats deal announced in 2015, Hormel Foods (NYSE: HRL) has agreed to buy Applegate Farms, an organic and natural meat distributor, for $775 million