Kraft Sells Minute Rice To Spanish Company

One of America's most iconic food brands has been sold to Ebro Puleva, a leading food group in Spain. Late last week, food marketer Kraft announced that it had sold Minute Rice, which burst on the American scene when it was fed as soldiers' rations during the Korean War. The price was $280 million. "Our decision to sell Minute Rice is part of a broader effort at Kraft to focus our portfolio," says Dave Johnson, president, Kraft North America Commercial. "While Minute Rice is a great brand, our focus is on businesses in which we believe we have a sustainable competitive advantage." The sale comes as rice consumption in the U.S. has doubled since the 1970s, per the U.S. Rice Producers Association. That rise is driven, in part, by consumer clamor for ethnic foods (rice is a staple of Asian and Hispanic cuisines), preparation advances that have reduced cooking time, and health benefits like high fiber. The divestiture reflects Kraft's ongoing restructuring strategy to cut costs, which have included closing seven plants.
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