Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods Inc., announced on February 15 its subsidiary company, Tyson Mexican Original Inc., has acquired the assets of Don Julio Foods of Clearfield, Utah. The deal is an example of the company's overall growth strategy. Don Julio, a maker of flour and corn tortillas, and salty snacks such as potato chips, tortilla chips and pretzels, sells products to retailers throughout the U.S. under the Don Julio Authentic and Clover Club brands.
Tyson Mexican Original is the second largest manufacturer of tortillas in the U.S. A majority of its sales are currently with foodservice customers; however the acquisition will put the company's products on grocery store shelves throughout the U.S.
"Don Julio is an example of a brand that's the right fit for Tyson Foods," Smith said. "The people are great, the business expands on an existing tortilla business where we already have expertise and it will allow us to offer our retail customers another product with a loyal consumer following."
The management team – which includes Nate Fisher, son of company founder, Craig Fisher – will continue to manage the operation. Don Julio employs about 50 people, the majority of whom are expected to become Tyson team members.
The acquisition includes all brands marketed by Don Julio, equipment and related assets. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
Entrepreneur Craig Fisher created Don Julio Foods in 1994 as a line of chip, tortilla and dip products. Production was outsourced until 2002 when Fisher and his son opened the tortilla manufacturing plant in Clearfield. Soon after beginning to make their own products, the company acquired Clover Club Foods, the same company where Craig Fisher began his career in the food business the 1980s. Most of the company's salty snacks are marketed under the Clover Club brand. Don Julio and Clover Club products are distributed nationwide at national and regional retail grocery stores.
Tyson Foods purchased Mexican Original, Inc. in 1983 to diversify its product offerings. Prior to the Don Julio acquisition, the company operated three dedicated tortilla operations in Fayetteville, Ark., Portland, Ind., and Sanford, N.C. Mexican Original tortillas and chips are sold to foodservice and restaurant customers. About 1,300 team members work for Mexican Original.
"We are excited to have the Don Julio folks join our Tyson Foods team," said Richard Irvin, manager of operations for Mexican Original. "We look forward to working with them and helping them grow the Don Julio and Clover Club brands."