1986 commercial for Del Monte Island Blends.

In the 1870s and ’80s, California became a major producer of fruits and vegetables. Following in 1899, 18 of the state’s biggest canners merged under the name California Fruit Canners Association. Under the impetus of George Newell Armsby, in 1916 CFCA added two more canners and a food brokerage house, incorporated itself as California Packing Corporation, or Calpak, and began marketing its products under the Del Monte brand. The new company grew to operate more than 60 canneries, some in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Alaska. In 1917 it acquired pineapple lands and a cannery in Hawaii and, in the 1920s, added canneries in Florida and the Midwest, as well as in the Philippines. After World War II more facilities were constructed or purchased overseas. These multinational operations made the name California Packing Corporation obsolete, and in 1967 the name Del Monte Corporation was adopted.

In 1979, Del Monte (headquartered in San Francisco) was merged into R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc.(later RJR Nabisco, Inc.). Ten years later the fresh fruit business was sold and renamed Fresh Del Monte Produce; although no longer affiliated with Del Monte Foods, it continued to market pineapples, bananas, and other produce under the Del Monte label. It should be noted that Del Monte Foods does, however, license the Del Monte brand to Fresh Del Monte Produce. RJR Nabisco sold the remaining food processing divisions, known as Del Monte Foods, to private investors in 1989. Del Monte Foods again became a publicly traded company in 1999 and in 2002 Del Monte purchased several brands from US food giant Heinz in an all stock transaction that left Heinz shareholders with 74.5% of Del Monte and original Del Monte shareholders with 25.5% of the company and nearly tripled Del Monte Foods size. Today Del Monte Foods products include canned fruits and vegetables, fruit snacks, tuna, and pet foods under labels such as Del Monte, Contadina, and StarKist Tuna.

There are several Del Monte brand licensees throughout the world. Kraft Foods holds the brand’s juice drinks in Canada, while CanGro holds the canned goods section and Nestlé holds the frozen treats in that country. Del Monte Foods holds the brand in North America (except Canada) and Central & South America. Fresh Del Monte Produce holds the Del Monte brand license in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Del Monte Asia holds the brand in Asia except the Philippines and the Indian subcontinent and Oceania. Del Monte Asia is owned by Kikkoman Corporation. Del Monte Pacific holds the brand in the Philippines and the Indian subcontinent. These companies supply each other stocks of fruit. All of these companies license the Del Monte name from Del Monte Foods. Del Monte Asia has a plantation in Thailand. Now the world’s biggest pineapple grower, Del Monte Pacific has a plantation in the Philippines. Del Monte Foods has a plantation in Hawaii but they will close the plantation in two years time. Cirio/Del Monte, CanGro and Kraft imports fruit from DM Asia and DM Pacific.

Del Monte sold its Soup and Infant Feeding business in April 2006 to Bay Valley Foods.

Del Monte Foods bought Meow Mix in May, 2006, and also recently acquired Milk-Bone from Kraft Foods.

In 2007, Del Monte declared a national recall of several of brands of its pet foods due to the 2007 pet food recalls.

In June 2008, Del Monte announced that they will be selling their seafood division, StarKist, to South Korean company Dongwon Enterprise Company. Dongwon will be buying the business at $363 million. Del Monte stated that StarKist is no longer a good fit for the company and they will be concentrating on pet food and higher margin produce.

Info taken from Wikipedia

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