European frozen food processor Ardo acquired a majority stake in VLM Foods, Canada, and a controlling stake in Compañia Frutera La Paz S.A., a Costa Rica-based frozen pineapple producer. The latter allows Ardo to broaden its frozen fruit product range.

The combination with Ardo’s leadership in sustainable agriculture, quality processing and product innovation capabilities will allow VLM Foods to accelerate its market penetration and provide Ardo with a strong North American platform.

Jeff Preston will remain president of VLM Foods and become regional director of Ardo North America. Marcel Lessard, VLM Foods’ founder, will remain a board member and further foster the development of Compañia Frutera La Paz, which continues to be led by its general manager and founder Luisa Chacon.

“Being the European leader in fresh frozen vegetables, herbs and fruit, Ardo offers a broad product range, a thorough agricultural knowledge, a technical manufacturing competence, as well as professional product innovation capabilities,” says Jan Haspeslagh, managing director of Ardo. “VLM Foods on the other hand has proven its professional market knowledge and its dynamic business model. This combination sets the scenery for building the ideal platform to supply high-quality, sustainable and value-added products into the North American market.”

“In addition to commodity vegetables, retail, foodservice and industrial opportunities, we will look to expand new areas such as IQF herbs and value-added products such as organics and a wide range of innovative products, available in the wide Ardo product offerings,” adds Preston. “Existing sustainable agriculture programs at Ardo can be leveraged into increased opportunities with the right marketing approach in the North American market.”