Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa Inc. Acquires Gourmet International Foods; #1 Award Winning Fresh Salsa Maker to Produce Basha Hummus

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America's biggest fresh all-natural salsa producer acquires Michigan's largest hummus company.

Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa Inc., the Michigan producer of the nation’s best selling fresh, all-natural salsa, moved Monday to increase its presence in the nation’s retail deli cases when it acquired Gourmet International Foods of Inkster, Michigan.

Garden Fresh Gourmet was recently recognized for its robust growth as one of “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” by the Edward Lowe Foundation. Gourmet International Foods is producer and distributor of the Basha line of hummus and other products. It is Michigan’s largest hummus company, generating $6 million in 2005 revenue.

The acquisition, along with growth of existing lines, is expected to vault annual sales 50 percent, to about $30 million this year.

Included in the purchase are Gourmet International’s production facility, equipment, and intellectual property. Garden Fresh plans to leverage its manufacturing and packaging prowess and retailer relationships to expand production and distribution of hummus and other products, strengthening the already dominant Garden Fresh brand in many markets.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Garden Fresh will retain the 26 Gourmet International employees at the Inkster location.

Jack Aronson, Garden Fresh founder and president, explained that hummus is an emerging category which is growing faster than fresh salsa in many areas, and that the market is strategically critical to the company.

“Until now, hummus was the only part of a comprehensive deli program that we could not offer our customers,” he explained. “Buying Gourmet International allows us to pick up a terrific brand and acquire the capability to produce a first class hummus that will be featured in concert with our award winning salsas. No other company in the United States will be able to offer such an extensive range of award winning salsa, hummus, guacamole, dips, tortilla chips, pita chips, and more.”

Pierre Chammas, Gourmet International Foods president who founded the company in 1990, assured customers that change will not be obvious at the retail level.        

“I’m excited about this transaction, and believe that access to Garden Fresh’s production and packaging innovation, and its distribution network, can only benefit our products,” he said.

Chammas has entered into a multiyear employment agreement with Garden Fresh, and will serve in an account management and product development capacity.

Garden Fresh Gourmet ships about one million pints of refrigerated salsa each month plus other products to grocery retailers in 35 states and Canada. Salsas are artfully produced in micro batches using only the best, freshest ingredients and innovative packaging procedures for an extended shelf life.

Garden Fresh Gourmet had rocketed to more than $20 million in annual sales since Jack and his wife Annette began making salsa in 1997 in the back of their Ferndale restaurant. Customer demand for its breakthrough flavor profile led to increased production and eventual widespread distribution, which now extends all the way to the salsa motherland in California.

“Michigan is a great place to do business and can be an incubator for companies to become national enterprises,” said Jack Aronson. “We didn’t have to look far to find a business that could provide a great compliment to our existing product line.”

Garden Fresh is America’s #1 award winning salsa, boasting 105 industry awards since 2000. The company swept the mild, medium, hot and specialty salsa categories at the 2005 Chili Pepper Magazine Zestfest in Ft. Worth, Texas – an unheard of 12 for 12 salsa sweep. In March, Garden Fresh won 13 Scovie Awards at the Fiery Foods Show sponsored by Fiery Foods and Barbeque Magazine in Albuquerque.

Garden Fresh products can be found in Kroger, Farmer Jack, Publix, Jewel, Roundy’s, Marsh, Schnuck’s, Meijer, Wegman’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Super Fresh, Bi-Lo, A&P, Spartan Stores, Shop Rite, Walbaum’s, and Costco of Canada, Michigan and Los Angeles. Offices, production, and distribution facilities are in Ferndale, Chicago, and Warren, Michigan.

For more information about Garden Fresh Gourmet, call 1-866-725-7239, or visit


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Betsy Erikson
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