LOS ANGELES – Overhill Farms Inc. has entered into a sales, distribution and co-manufacturing agreement with Bellisio Foods Inc., in conjunction with the national launch by Overhill Farms of the Boston Market frozen food line.

Under direction of Overhill Farms, Bellisio will provide sales management services for the Boston Market line. Minneapolis-based Bellisio, which operates production facilities in Jackson, Ohio, will also manufacture approximately 50 percent of the Boston Market products.

"We have known Bellisio for several years as an efficient, well-managed food company with which we do not directly compete,” said James Rudis, chairman, president and CEO of Overhill Farms. “When Overhill Farms acquired the license to the Boston Market retail food line, we saw an opportunity for our companies to work together.”

The Bellisio agreement should result in lower costs to manufacture and distribute the Boston Market products, Rudis said. Boston Market products can be combined with Bellisio products in full-truck shipments to the Boston Market customer base, which presently is heavily represented in the Eastern and Midwestern portions of the country. The agreement also enables Overhill Farms to avoid the cost and time needed to develop an equivalent sales and distribution system internally.

All Boston Market products, including those manufactured by Overhill Farms, will be warehoused and distributed by Bellisio through their facilities centrally located in Jackson, Ohio. Overhill Farms will be responsible for overall product quality, and for development of new items for the Boston Market line.

The agreement calls for manufacturing, sales, warehousing and distribution to be provided by Bellisio at fixed costs, with Bellisio to receive a pre-determined portion of profits resulting from these sales. The term of the agreement is 24 months.

Overhill Farms is a leading supplier of prepared frozen foods for branded retail, private-label, foodservice and airline customers. Its product line includes entrées, plated meals, bulk-packed meal components, pastas, soups, sauces, poultry, meat and fish specialties, as well as organic and vegetarian offerings. Customers include Jenny Craig Inc., Safeway Inc., Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., Pinnacle Foods Group LLC and American Airlines Inc.

Bellisio Foods operate production facilities in Lakeview, Minn., and Jackson, Ohio. The privately-held company is the third-largest producer of frozen entrées in the US. Its brands include Michelina's, Authentico, Zap'ems Gourmet, Anytime Snackers, Joy of Cooking Foods and others, and it serves the foodservice industry through the Arden Culinary line.

Boston Market Corporation offers home-style meals, including its fresh chicken prepared in signature rotisserie ovens and an extensive selection of side dishes. Boston Market at-home frozen meals are produced by Overhill Farms under an exclusive license from Boston Market Corporation.