Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., today said it agreed to purchase the Country Crock chilled side dish business fromUnilever United States Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Officials said they expect to close the transaction by this February. Terms were not disclosed.

Hormel said the Country Crock line includes 10 varieties of refrigerated, microwaveable, multi-portion, potato-/pasta-based side dish products. Introduced in 2004, Country Crock has become a strong player in the refrigerated side dish segment.

“The acquisition of Country Crock microwaveable, refrigerated side dishes represents a significant opportunity for Hormel Foods to advance its participation in the growing segments of convenient meals and side dishes,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, Hormel chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. “The line nicely complements our existing protein-based refrigerated products and aligns with our goal of elevating the everyday experience by making Hormel Foods the favorite part of any eating occasion.”

Hormel Foods already processes and sells microwaveable main dishes including Hormel refrigerated entrees and Lloyd’s® prepared entrees, consisting primarily of meat or poultry.