Homegrown Naturals Acquires Annie's Naturals, Leading Maker of All-Natural and Organic Salad Dressings

NAPA, Calif., Nov 16, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Acquisition Expands Homegrown's Portfolio of High-Quality Natural and Organic Brands

Homegrown Naturals, Inc., ("Homegrown") the owner of high-quality natural and organic food brands, today announced that it has acquired Annie's Naturals, the leading maker of all-natural and organic salad dressings and condiments. The acquisition brings Annie's Naturals into Homegrown's family of industry-leading, natural and organic brands. Solera Capital, LLC, the majority owner of Homegrown, facilitated the transaction through an investment in Homegrown. Financial terms of the acquisition and the Solera investment were not disclosed.

The addition of Annie's Naturals expands Homegrown's portfolio of environmentally friendly and socially responsible natural and organic brands. Homegrown's brands include Annie's Homegrown, the number one natural macaroni & cheese; Fantastic Foods, the pioneering brand in convenient vegetarian meals; and Consorzio flavored oils, dressings and marinades. Annie's Naturals' popular and innovative dressings that will become part of the portfolio include Goddess Dressing, and Shiitake & Sesame and Low-Fat Raspberry Vinaigrettes.

"Annie's Naturals' commitment to delicious products made with high-quality ingredients, its leadership position in the natural dressing category, and its grassroots focus make it a great fit with Homegrown," said John Foraker, CEO of Homegrown Naturals. "The addition of the Annie's Naturals brand and its outstanding products broadens and strengthens Homegrown's portfolio of best-in-class brands. We plan to maintain the integrity of the Annie's Naturals brand by continuing to fully support its values, mission, product quality and focus on strategic product development."

"For 20 years, we've worked very hard to build a leading brand in natural and organic foods, dedicated to social and local causes," said Peter Backman, co-founder of Annie's Naturals. "Homegrown and its brands share that vision with us and have similar histories. As part of Homegrown, Annie's Naturals will have a broader platform and greater access to new markets."

According to Datamonitor, the organic food sector is growing at a rate of approximately 20% annually, compared to 3% for conventional foods.

Molly F. Ashby, CEO of Solera Capital, said, "Natural and organic foods will continue to see dramatic growth as consumers become increasingly health conscious and interested in the quality of their food. This investment reflects our belief in the continuation of this trend, our confidence in Homegrown and our respect for Annie's Naturals' brand and products."

"Much of our historical growth came from people's interest in natural foods and a desire for better eating habits, and now that growth is expanding to the mainstream shopper," said Annie Christopher, co-founder of Annie's Naturals. "We expect Homegrown Naturals will help us continue to grow brand loyalty, and advance Annie's Naturals' mission of providing the best-tasting organic and all-natural dressings, sauces and marinades available."

The current leadership of Annie's Naturals will continue to play an active role in the evolution of the brand.

About Homegrown Naturals, Inc.

Homegrown Naturals, Inc. is committed to offering delicious, convenient foods made with natural or organic ingredients. With a focus on making its products available to more consumers, Homegrown Naturals also adheres to standards of product quality and brand heritage created by each company's founders. The growing family of well-loved Homegrown Naturals brands includes: Annie's Homegrown, the leading organic and natural pasta and snack food company; Fantastic Foods, a leading brand of vegetarian convenience foods; and Consorzio, a maker of dressings, marinades and oils. All of Homegrown Naturals' products are 100% natural and can be found nationwide in natural food stores, supermarkets and mass merchants, as well as online.

About Annie's Naturals

Founded in 1984 by culinary innovator Annie Christopher, Annie's Naturals is a Vermont-based company and pioneering brand in natural foods. Annie's Naturals produces the best-selling dressings and condiments in the natural foods market and is ranked #5 in sales in the specialty grocery salad dressing category in the U.S., according to SPINS and AC Nielsen market data. With 26 salad dressing flavors and 14 condiments, including mustards, marinades, BBQ sauces, and ketchup, Annie's Naturals is distributed across the U.S., in Canada, Western Europe, Japan, and Korea.

About Solera Capital

Solera Capital is a New York-based private equity investment firm. In addition to Homegrown Naturals, its portfolio includes The Little Clinic, a consumer-focused healthcare company, and Latina Media Ventures, a major Hispanic brand and publisher of Latina magazine.

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