News Column

Border Foods Sale Based On Popularity of Chiles

May 17, 2011

Matt Robinson, The Deming Headlight, N.M.


The purchase of Border Foods can be directly attributed to the increasing popularity of Hispanic food items across the country.

Mizkan Americas, the North American division of the Japan-based Mizkan Group, took over ownership of the facility the week of Monday, May 9. Mizkan Americas, CEO Craig Smith says, operates independently of the Mizkan Group, but does enjoy the financial backing of the 200-year old international food manufacturer.

"We know how they operate," Smith said of Border Foods. "Their culture and our culture is very much alike, it's based on operational excellence. It was just the perfect marriage for both of us."

He said Mizkan Americas has a list of about 60 companies they consider to be potential acquisition projects that would fit into the company's growing portfolio and that this year presented the right opportunity to acquire Border Foods, which has been operating since 1972 in Luna County as one of the largest local employers.

The company has also touted the projected growth of the Hispanic food market to reach over $8 billion in 2011 as another factor contributing to the acquisition.

"It is counter cyclical with what's going on right now," he said of the market growing despite the economy being down. "The Hispanic population is growing, but also, more importantly, the popularity of Hispanic food is growing."

He says hamburgers will likely remain the number one fast food in the country, but Hispanic "concepts" are catching up with mainstream diets.

"The first time I visited Deming was in late March, up until then, I had never purchased a can of green chiles in my life," Mark Majewski, chief financial officer, said. "Since then, I've bought, on average, two of the seven ounce cans every week. The reason the Hispanic market is growing is because people like me are becoming exposed to it and they like what they see."

The mindset of not fixing what is not broken is likely to persist at Border Foods. The facility, located on J Street in Deming's Industrial Park, processes green chile, jalape o, tomatillo peppers and enchilada sauces for a number of national brands and private commercial businesses. During peak processing, the facility uses about 1.25 million pounds of product a day and cans about 80 million cans each year.

"We both have very similar customer bases, but we have a tremendous number of customers that Border Foods does not have," Smith said. "It is our hope to leverage Border (Foods) into those customers. In all likelihood, it's going to increase employment here."

Border Foods employs over 700 people annually, with most of the positions on the factory floor, where employees sort, process and prepare the bounties of Luna County, Hatch and Mexico for store shelves across the country.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, The Deming Headlight, N.M.

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