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Distributors to Benefit by 'Enhanced Operations' with Heinz Acquisition of Hors d'Oeuvres Maker

NEW YORK - The acquisition this week of hors d'oeuvres manufacturer Appetizers And, Inc., by the H.J. Heinz Co. is expected to enhance operations for its foodservice distribution customers, according to a company executive.

"As far as operations at AAI, it's going to be business as usual. AAI sellers, George King and Patricia Domanik, built a very successful business during the past 37 years by strategically focusing on the distributor as a true business partner. In this regard, nothing will change, with the exception of enhanced operations through leveraging Heinz Foodservice's purchasing and logistics capabilities in conjunction with our consolidated frozen businesses," Jeff Fisher, vice president of foodservice marketing and business development at Pittsburgh-based Heinz, told ID Access.

Earlier this week Heinz announced that its foodservice division acquired Chicago-based Appetizers And, a manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, upscale frozen hors d'oeuvres sold almost exclusively to the foodservice industry. Terms of the acquisition were not released.

The upscale hors d'oeuvres segment of the foodservice industry is part of a $1.5 billion category that is growing at above-average rates, according to industry researchers.

William R. Johnson, Heinz chairman, president and ceo, noted in a statement that the hors d'oeuvres maker "complements our successful foodservice acquisition and growth strategy."

Fisher explained in his interview with ID Access that with its frozen portfolio of brands and products, Heinz has "strategically focused our efforts on providing customers with value-added solutions, primarily for the left and right sides of their menus. The premier line of AAI hors d'oeuvres supplements well our existing frozen soups, sauces and desserts portfolio and provides yet another way that we can help operators increase both revenues and profits."

Jeffrey P. Berger, president of Heinz Foodservice, said AAI's product line "will provide yet another avenue for us to better serve customers focused on serving patrons only the highest quality menu options."

Fisher added that the company's plans are to provide resources to AAI, which he said already does an outstanding job of innovating and introducing exciting, on-trend new hors d'oeuvres each year, "to continue and expand upon their track record of successful new product line introductions."

He also indicated that AAI's current go-to-market model will remain unchanged. Kristine Holtz, senior vice president and coo, and her associates will continue to run the business, supplemented by Heinz resources whenever necessary, Fisher said.

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