HUNT VALLEY, MD. – McCormick & Co. has entered into an agreement to acquire the Cholula Food Co., the maker of Cholula Hot Sauce, from private equity firm L Catterton, Greenwich, Conn., for $800 million. Cholula’s hot sauce portfolio features six flavor varieties that are sold at retail and foodservice.
“The acquisition of Cholula accelerates McCormick’s growth opportunities within our condiment platform and broadens our portfolio in the hot sauce category with the addition of the Cholula brand,” said Lawrence E. Kurzius, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Hot sauce is an attractive, high-growth category and, as an iconic premium brand, Cholula is outpacing category growth.
“As McCormick continues to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in healthy and flavorful eating, Cholula, a brand known for authentic bold and spicy Mexican flavors, is a strong complement to our portfolio providing consumers and foodservice operators with an even more diverse product offering that we expect will strengthen our growth opportunities.”
Cholula’s annual sales are approximately $96 million, according to McCormick, and are expected to grow mid- to high-single digits in a normalized environment beyond COVID-19.
“In the last 19 months, with the support, resources, and operational expertise of the L Catterton team, we established Cholula as a high-performing standalone business, vastly improved our commercial execution efforts, and pivoted our foodservice strategy to position Cholula for long-term growth and success,” said Maura Mottolese, CEO of Cholula. “With McCormick’s extensive experience and unique insight into the hot sauce category and unmatched global flavor leadership, we look forward to capitalizing on new opportunities and reaching even greater heights together.”
McCormick said Cholula’s products are complementary to the company’s existing hot sauce portfolio, which includes such brands as Frank’s RedHot. Strategic initiatives around the brand include increasing Cholula’s brand awareness, increasing the availability of its products, and extending the Cholula brand into new formats and eating occasions to drive trial and household penetration.
L Catterton acquired Cholula in April 2019 and established it as a standalone company. Under the private equity firm’s ownership, Cholula grew its household penetration 50%, the company said.