Nestlé SA is rumored to be a likely candidate to purchase the Hain Celestial Group, Inc., parent brand of organic and vegetarian food products including Garden of Eatin’, Almond Dream and Arrowhead Mills.
The Swiss-based Nestlé is the world’s largest manufacturer of food products, and recently made headlines when it announced plans to leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association over disagreements about nutrition labeling. Nestlé has been pivoting toward the natural food sector with the recent purchase of the California vegetarian brand, Sweet Earth Foods and the trendy Blue Bottle Coffee. It also recently announced major cage-free egg commitments, and its frozen dessert brand Häagen Dazs recently launched nondairy options. All of which make the natural giant Hain Celestial a prime target to expand Nestlé's reach into the natural market.
Bloomberg reports that while Nestlé is in talks to purchase all or potentially just parts of Hain Celestial, no details about what that may look like have been made public. And Hain Celestial may opt to reject any offers, sources told Bloomberg.
Similar to Whole Foods, which sold to Amazon in August after declining sales, Hain Celestial has been under pressure by shareholders to make changes including a potential sale. Many of the company’s brands now face steep competition and sales dropped down to $102.5 million from $180 million just two years ago.
Nestlé has been late to the game in acquiring natural food brands. Kellogg's, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and General Mills have all acquired natural or organic food brands in recent years.
If Nestlé does purchase Hain Celestial, it could indicate the company's plans to join the Plant Based Foods Association. The organization was founded just two years ago and recently welcomed the Campbell Soup Company to its roster after it also left the GMA.
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