PITTSBURGH & CHICAGO — The Kraft Heinz Company and Simplot Food Group, a division of the J.R. Simplot Company, announced Feb. 23 that the two companies have signed a long-term agreement naming Simplot as the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of Ore-Ida. Kraft Heinz will continue to own the Ore-Ida brand.
As an expert in potato manufacturing and distribution, Simplot is expected to help grow the Ore-Ida brand by introducing world-class innovation and technology to the business as well as creating greater efficiencies through vertical integration, including supplying potatoes for the brand starting with the 2023/24 crop season. As part of the agreement, Kraft Heinz will transfer ownership of its potato manufacturing facility in Ontario, Ore., to Simplot, with Simplot committing to make capital investments as needed to meet elevated demand. The handover of the site is anticipated in the second quarter of 2022. The Ontario facility currently employs approximately 600 people. Simplot will offer positions to individuals at the facility, with the employees receiving pay and benefits comparable to that provided to similarly situated Simplot employees.
Privately-held and headquartered in Boise, ID, Simplot has nearly a century of experience and is a leader in the global food and agriculture industries. Simplot has unmatched capabilities in potato battering, frying, and hold times, making them the ideal partner for Ore-Ida, the leader in quality, at-home frozen potatoes. Additionally, Simplot’s values align perfectly with those of Kraft Heinz, as both are committed to making responsibly sourced, high-quality, great-tasting foods and taking care of the communities where they operate.
“Consumer demand for our delicious Ore-Ida potato dishes remains high, proving there is substantial opportunity to grow the current portfolio of products while also introducing new and exciting foods from the brand,” said Renee Peets, senior vice president, North America Procurement at Kraft Heinz. “Today, Ore-Ida is approximately half a billion dollars in terms of net sales and we believe there’s still a lot of untapped growth. The expertise and innovation that the J.R. Simplot Company will bring to the brand is unrivaled, and thanks to our exclusive strategic supply partnership, we’ll now be able to bring new and expanded offerings from Ore-Ida to market faster than we ever have before.”
“The Ore-Ida brand is well-known and loved, and we’re thrilled to help ensure the continued success of this iconic family favorite through our Kraft Heinz partnership,” said Mark McKellar, president of Simplot’s Food Group. “With our combined history of making and serving high-quality frozen potato products and our shared dedication to the communities where we operate and the customers we serve, we have a bright future in front of us.”
Since 2020, Kraft Heinz has taken multiple steps to transform its overall growth profile, strategic focus and financial flexibility. The exclusive supply agreement is another example of how Kraft Heinz is using agile portfolio management to improve its growth trajectory.