General Mills offloads European dough business to North America's ‘fastest growing bakery business’

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

General Mills has sold its frozen pastry business, which includes the Jus-Roll and Knack & Back brands. Pic: General Mills
General Mills has sold its frozen pastry business, which includes the Jus-Roll and Knack & Back brands. Pic: General Mills

Related tags: General mills, The Cerelia Group, frozen pastry, refrigerated pastry, North america, Jus-Rol, Knack & Back, Pillsbury Doughboy, Ardian Buyout

The Minnesota-headquartered food major has offloaded its European dough business to The Cérélia Group, a French producer of ready-to-bake dough solutions, to consolidate its impetus in North America, its largest market.

The move follows the sale of its European Yoplait ownership stake earlier this year. In return, the company gained full control of the same brand in Canada to increase focus on the brand platforms that have the greatest growth potential.

The deal with Cérélia is expected to close by the end of fiscal 2022, pending regulatory approvals, and includes the Knack & Back and Jus-Rol brands.

Knack & Back is a German-based brand and includes the Pillsbury Doughboy refrigerated tubes of cinnamon rolls, croissants and other premade doughs. UK-based Jus-Rol produces chilled and frozen pastry doughs.

The divestitures are part of the company’s strategy that has “clear priorities on where to play - across geographies as well as platforms and brands.

“Internationally, the strategy includes efforts to reshape the company’s portfolio for sustainable, profitable growth by increasing its focus on advantaged global platforms, which include Mexican food, super-premium ice cream and snack bars,”​ it said in a statement.

Rapid expansion stateside

While General Mills retreats from Europe, Paris-based The Cérélia Group has been pushing its presence across the water.

In March, Cérélia acquired South Carolina-based US Waffle, a processor of private label waffles and pancakes, alongside Wewalka’s North American pizza dough business. It also constructed a state-of-the-art facility in Ohio to accommodate its rapid expansion and received a strategic investment from Continental Grain Company, positioning it as one of North America’s fastest growing bakery businesses.

The company, which is owned by private equity firm Ardian Buyout, had sales of €500m ($560m) in 2020, operates 10 manufacturing plants around the world and employs a 1,600-strong workforce creating products under the Creapan, Croustipate, Debora, English Bay, Jan and Pop Bakery brands.

Ardian - which is majority-owned by its employees - has assets of $110bn managed or advised in Europe, North America, Asia and South America.

Terms of the transaction with General Mills were not disclosed.

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