Prepared Foods February 7, 2005 enewsletter

A New Berlin, Wis., manufacturer of Mexican foods has been sold to Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corp. for $47 million.

Arriba Foods Inc., which also makes products under the Gringo Pete's and Mexican Accents brands, was sold to Hormel by Chicago-based Arbor Private Investment Co. Arriba, which was acquired by Arbor in 2002, was founded by Ken Levitt and Dennis Johnson in 1998.

Levitt said he will remain president of the company, which does business as Mexican Accent Inc. and Rio Real Inc.

Arriba, which has 150 employees and annual sales of $30 million, will operate as a stand-alone company under Hormel's ownership, Levitt said.

Arriba's products are expected to strengthen Hormel's "growing presence in the ethnic products category," according to a statement issued by Joel W. Johnson, Hormel's chairman and chief executive officer.

Hormel will expand Arriba's reach into other locations, Levitt said, particularly in the West.

Arriba's products include tortilla chips, salsas and seasonings. In 2004, the company introduced a line of Manny's fresh dinner kits, composed of soft and hard taco shells, soft tortillas, sauce and seasoning mix.

Hormel sells Mexican salsas, sauces and other products under the Chi-Chi's, Herdez, Dona Maria and Bufalo brands. Based in Austin, Minn., Hormel has annual sales of $4.8 billion.