Natural Foods Merchandiser

Kehe to acquire Tree of Life

Tree of Life’s Dutch parent company, Royal Wessanen nv, announced today that the company’s natural and specialty foods divisions will be purchased by Kehe Food Distributors for $190 million. An early 2010 closing date is expected.

Earlier this year, Wessanen announced plans to sell its North American businesses to focus on its European properties.

Greg Leonard, senior vice president of natural food sales for the St. Augustine, Fla. - based company said the sale is a good fit for Tree and the natural products industry. “I am confident that Kehe understands the importance of Tree of Life’s service model for the natural food store channel. Kehe wants their business in this class of trade to grow significantly in the coming years and the acquisition will provide them with capabilities in this channel that they do not possess now,” he said.

Romeoville, Ill.-based Kehe is one of the nation’s leading distributors with distribution to more than 15 thousand retail outlets. “Its service to national chains, regional chains and independent grocers is world class,” said Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs for New Hope Natural Media. “If Kehe can successfully integrate Tree of Life’s customer base into its operations, this could be a huge change in how products get to the retail shelves,” he said.

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