CHICAGO – ConAgra Foods Inc. has acquired the packaged foods businesses of Frontera Foods Inc. and Red Fork LLC. Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless founded Frontera Foods with business partner Manny Valdes, CEO of Frontera Foods.

The transaction includes the Frontera, Red Fork and Salpica brands. Frontera Foods manufactures gourmet Mexican food and contemporary American cooking sauces. The transaction doesn’t include any restaurant assets, including Frontera-branded restaurants. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sean Connolly, ConAgra
ConAgra president and CEO Sean Connolly 

“We are excited to add the Frontera, Red Fork and Salpica brands to our portfolio. In particular, the Frontera brand is a preeminent gourmet Mexican food brand in North America,” ConAgra president and CEO Sean Connolly said in a statement. “We believe it provides a tremendous platform off which we can build.”

ConAgra said Bayless and Valdes will continue to support the business. Bayless is the owner of the highly-acclaimed Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco restaurants in Chicago. He established Frontera Foods in 1996 with Valdes. Frontera Foods currently makes more than 50 regional Mexican food products.

Frontera is known for premium salsa, sauces, snacks and meals that feature flavors inspired by traditional Mexican cuisine. Red Fork is known for premium American cooking sauces while Salpica is a Tex-Mex salsa line.

Chef Rick Bayless, founder of Frontera Foods
Chef Rick Bayless

“In ConAgra, we’ve found people who respect our integrity and uncompromising standards,” Bayless said in a statement. “We will continue to make high-quality food with the same standards of excellence and operate with the same values and fresh ingredients that have helped the business to become the premium brands they are today.

“This is the start of a new era for Frontera, Salpica and Red Fork, and we are thrilled.”