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Manufacturing

Israel-based Osem buys Tribe foods

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TAUNTON and TEL AVIV – Tribe Mediterranean Foods LLC, a 15-year-old hummus maker whose new factory opened in 2004, has been acquired by the Israel-based Osem Group for $57 million, the companies said today.

“We have had a wonderful experience under our current ownership helping to pioneer the hummus category – and more specifically, our natural and organic hummus segments,” Tribe president Bruce Rubin said in a statement today.

Besides its award-winning hummus – a chickpea-based dip or spread that Tribe produces in 17 natural and five organic varieties – the Taunton company makes tahini, tabouli and baba ganoush. Its products are certified kosher and are free of preservatives, saturated fats and cholesterol.

“We are impressed with Tribe’s management team and intend to keep them driving the business to further heights,” Omri Lotan, CEO of the Israeli company’s prepared foods division, said in a statement today. “Tribe has a strong and healthy business platform, a state-of-the art manufacturing facility and a strong team of capable and enthusiastic people.”

The Taunton firm will join Osem brands Tivall, Salatay Tsabar and Bonjour, which are popular in Israel and Europe.

The Osem Group of companies – whose parent company, Osem Investments Ltd. is 50.1-percent owned by The Nestlé Group, according to data on the company Web site – now produces more than 1,000 food items in 10 plants across Israel.

“Osem’s growth strategy is based on continuing to grow its business in the Israeli market through innovations and entering into new categories,” said CEO Gezy Kaplan, “as well as on developing its international operations in the two areas where we have a significant competitive advantage, salads and meat substitutes.

“Our parent company, The Nestlé Group, has a substantial presence in these markets, supports and assists Osem Group in realizing its strategy and is an active partner in all of Osem’s international steps,” Kaplan said. He credited Nestlé with being “instrumental in helping Osem build a new factory for Tivall in the Czech Republic, acquiring Hälsans Kök brand in Sweden, launching into different Western European markets and acquiring Tribe.”

Tribe has predicted its total sales this year will amount to $32 million, 25 percent more than in 2007. That makes it one of the largest players in a U.S. hummus market the companies said is currently estimated at $200 million per year, and is expected to reach $500 million in the next six years.

“Our relationship with Osem will help us develop our products and brands more rapidly and broadly as we take the company through the next phase of its development,” Rubin said.

Tribe Mediterranean Foods LLC, founded in 1993, is a maker of all-natural and organic hummus, tahini, tabouli and baba ganoush. Additional information is available at www.TribeHummus.com.

The Osem Group of companies – owned by Osem Investments Ltd., a subsidiary of Nestlé SA – produces and distributes certified-kosher food products in Israel, Europe and the United States. Founded in 1942, it is based in Tel Aviv. Additional information is available at www.osem.co.il/Eng.

Osem brands Tivall, Salatay Tsabar and Bonjour, taunton-based Tribe Mediterranean Foods LLC, tribe foods, tribe hummus, Tribe president Bruce Rubin , mergers & acquisitions, osem group prepared foods division ceo omri lotan, The Nestlé Group, Osem Investments Ltd., The Osem Group of companies , osem ceo Gezy Kaplan, global trade, Food Service , International Relations , Management , Manufacturing , Marketing , News Briefs , Trade

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