Simeus Foods International Inc. recently signed a long-term agreement with Unilever’s food service division, FoodSolutions North America, to handle the production of all of the company’s branded frozen products distributed throughout the U.S., Canada, and parts of the Caribbean. “The value of the contract on an annual basis could range between $15 million and $25 million,” says Dumas Siméus, founder and chairman of Siméus Foods (No. 35 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $125 million in sales).
Siméus Foods will oversee Knorr, the 169-year-old producer of frozen soups and sauces and Unilever’s largest brand, generating annual sales of more than $6 billion internationally. “For a branded company like us, it is a tough decision to [hand over Unilever’s] family jewels,” says Norman Clubb, president and COO of Unilever Foodsolutions North America. “Their investment in the future–for production and state-of-the-art facilities–was a factor that helped Siméus stand out,” says Clubb.
Additionally, Siméus Foods will gain responsibility for Unilever’s custom frozen solution accounts, which produces products for casual dining chains such as Atlanta Bread and Applebee’s.
In 2006, Siméus Foods received a $5 million cash investment from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “That investment helped us acquire and update our production facilities and become more attractive to potential partners such as Unilever,” says Siméus.
“I am very excited about this [co-packaging] partnership,” he adds. “It is recognition by one of the largest food companies in the world of our skills, quality of management, and ability to provide first-class products and services.”