Garden Fresh bought by Campbell's; company staying put, better benefits promised

Local staple Garden Fresh Gourmet is sold. Campbell Soup Company bought the metro Detroit staple, known for its chips and salsa for $ 231 million.

The owner of Ferndale's Garden Fresh Gourmet, was maybe a little apprehensive about the multi-million dollar purchase by Campbell Soup.   
After a few months, I think I'll feel better," said Annette Aronson, co-owner and founder. 

Dave Zilko, Vice Chair Garden Fresh 2 "It's job security, long-term," said Dave Zilko, vice chair. "Better benefits and frankly more opportunity."

And more opportunity for Campbell Soup, specifically Bolthouse Farms, a division. It can improve on Garden Freshes' No. 1 salsa in the country, No. 3 hummus in the country and people can get its product like chips, in more than 10,000 stores.

"We want to tell that story to more people, more consumers, more customers across this country," said Todd Putnam, the new general manager. 

And the timing of the sale was good.

"Two of the biggest food companies in the world, Nestlé and Pepsi, had entered our space, our deli space and was competing against us," Zilko said.

Campbell's hopes to put Garden Fresh in more than 20,000 stores across the country - that would be double the reach it has now. 

And it announced that the 457 employees who work at Garden fresh, will stay, in Ferndale. 

"The family of Bolthouse and Campbell's is much similar to ours," said Aronson. "After a few months, I think I'll even feel better when everybody is taken care of."

"Change is good," David Kardash, an employee said. "I'm looking forward to it."

"I think it's going to be better for us," said Doris Robinson, an employee. "More money."

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