Shanghai-based Bright Food Group has acquired a majority stake in Italy’s Salov Group, which produces the Sagra and Filippo Berio brands.
Shanghai Yimin No. 1 Food Factory, a subsidiary of Bright Food, finalized the deal with Salov’s owner, the Fontana family, on October 1, according to a statement released on their website. Bright Food is China’s second-largest food conglomerate. The Fontana family will retain minority ownership.
Filippo Berio is the top-selling brand in both the United States and the United Kingdom, while Sagra holds a large market share in the group’s home country. The Salov group sells their products in over 60 countries with annual sales reaching €330 million ($417 million).
According to a statement released by Bright Food, the move is a business response to changing habits among China’s growing middle class as they look towards more healthful foods.
“This investment in Italy responds to Bright Food’s plan to direct Chinese people’s habits toward a healthy nutrition lifestyle, such as the Mediterranean diet,” said the statement.
While the group will retain olive oil production in Italy, the Chinese firm says they will support the continued international expansion of Salov’s brands.
The move is another step toward Bright Food’s goal of increased international presence. In recent years, it has acquired majority stakes in Australian food company Manassen and UK-based Weetabix. It is also in the final stages of its planned acquisition of Israel’s Tnuva.