BOULDER, Colo., March 17 -- Horizon Organic Holding Corporation (Nasdaq: HCOW), the marketer of theleading brand of certified organic foods in the U.S. and the leading brand of organic milk in both the U.S. and U.K., announced today it has formed a manufacturing relationship with Yoplait Dairy Crest in the U.K. to develop new organic yogurt products under its Rachel's Organic brand. Yoplait Dairy Crest is the U.K.'s second largest chilled yogurt and desserts manufacturer and a joint venture between Yoplait SAS France and Dairy Crest LTD., Britain's leading dairy company. This new relationship is an expansion of the agreement Horizon Organic signed with Dairy Crest in December 2001 to manufacture and distribute the company's milk products in the U.K.
Yoplait Dairy Crest is noted for its technical and product-development expertise. Accordingly, the company will work with Horizon Organic to develop new Rachel's Organic yogurt and dessert products and packaging suitable for the U.K. market. The first product will be an organic yogurt multi-pack and other innovative organic refrigerated products will quickly follow.
"Yoplait Dairy Crest has an excellent reputation for bringing innovative yogurt products to consumers," said Don Gaidano, managing director of Rachel's Organic. "Coupled with our existing processing facility in Wales, Yoplait Dairy Crest's expertise and capacity should allow us to strengthen our position as the fastest-growing organic dairy brand in the U.K."
Yoplait Dairy Crest also has established relationships with the leading supermarket chains and food service outlets in the U.K., which will provide additional exposure for Rachel's Organic yogurt products.
"Our agreement with Dairy Crest has been extremely successful," said Chuck Marcy, president and CEO of Horizon Organic. "The agreement has enabled us to introduce Rachel's Organic branded milk, expand our U.K. customer base and to lower our manufacturing costs. The Yoplait Dairy Crest relationship is a natural extension for both companies and should be a major boost for our
Yoplait Dairy Crest also believes the agreement with Horizon Organic will be mutually beneficial. "We are delighted to play a part in Rachel Organic's further development," said Jamie Robinson, deputy managing director of Yoplait Dairy Crest. "We both share a common interest in providing our customers and consumers with high quality organic products."
Horizon Organic markets the leading brand of certified organic foods in the U.S. and the leading brand of organic milk in both the U.S. and U.K. In the U.S. its products include organic milk, a full line of organic dairy products, organic eggs and juices. In the U.K., the company markets organic yogurt, milk and butter under the Rachel's Organic brand. For more information, please visit the company's web site at http://www.horizonorganic.com .
Note on Forward-Looking Statements: This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Future events may differ materially from those discussed herein, due to a number of factors, including uncertainties related to the company's ability to continue to maintain and expand its brands, avoid adverse publicity, manage its supply chain efficiently, continue and effectively manage its rapid growth, and maintain key management as well as to volatility in the cost of organic farm products, increased competition, changes in consumer preferences, and increases in charges under governmental dairy programs. These factors and others are more fully discussed in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002.