Skippy peanut butter sold to Spam owner

Image caption Spam is a canned meat, but how well will it go with peanut butter?

Peanut butter brand Skippy has been sold for $700m (£431m) to the US company behind Spam.

Hormel Foods, which also owns Wholly Guacamole, bought the brand from Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever.

It said that Skippy's 11 varieties of peanut butter would "strengthen our global presence, and should be a useful complement to our sales strategy in China for the Spam family of products".

Skippy has been around since 1932 and has annual sales of $370m.

The deal includes Unilever's Skippy manufacturing facilities in Little Rock, Arkansas and in the Shandong province of China.

Hormel chairman Jeffrey Ettinger said that in the US, peanut butter was the second-most popular sandwich ingredient after ham, and added that Skippy would help Hormel "to grow our branded presence in the centre of the store with a non-meat protein product".

The peanut butter brand is available in 30 countries.

Unilever manufactures a wide range of products, from Dove soaps to Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said: "Skippy is an iconic brand with presence all around the world. As we continue to sharpen our portfolio to deliver sustainable growth for Unilever, we believe that the potential of the Skippy brand can now be more fully realised with Hormel Foods."

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