Natural Foods Merchandiser

Soy companies merge

Pulmuone U.S.A., a manufacturer of organic tofu and soy products, has merged with Wildwood Natural Foods, the maker of the best-selling fresh veggie burger in the United States. The new company, called Pulmuone Wildwood Inc., is now the world's largest tofu producer, with brands that include Pulmuone, Wildwood and Soga.

Pulmuone U.S.A. is a division of South Korean-based Pulmuone Co. Ltd., which was founded in 1955 by Won Kyung Sun, who turned 8 acres of unusable land into a farming cooperative. In 1976 Won adopted organic farming practices and in 1995, he received the United Nations' Global 500 Award for environmental achievement.

Wildwood began in 1978 by producing fresh organic and vegetarian cuisine, later delivering it by bicycle, station wagon and van to stores throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a result of the merger, Wildwood will introduce new packaging with vibrant colors and labels to identify "veggie protein" and other nutritional attributes.

The combined company's headquarters are in Fullerton, Calif. Young Chul Kang, who served as chief executive officer at Pulmuone U.S.A., will continue in that role at Pulmuone Wildwood. John Breen and Tom Lacina, both from Wildwood, will become chief operating officer and executive vice president of sales and marketing, respectively.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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