Puffed wheat plant’s proprietor to be sold

U.S. firm TreeHouse Foods to buy Associated Brands

The company behind a formerly famous face in Manitoba-made puffed wheat is soon to be owned by a U.S. food-processing firm.

Mississauga-based Associated Brands, which until last year operated the Prairie Maid Cereals plant on Berry Street in Winnipeg, is poised to be sold to TreeHouse Foods for about $187 million, the two companies announced Aug. 8.

The Prairie Maid plant, which had capacity to puff over 2.5 million pounds of wheat and other grains per year, was shut last fall and the property sold in December to one of its Berry Street neighbours, Airpark.

A spokesperson for Associated wasn’t immediately available to discuss future use of the Prairie Maid brand or the Berry Street plant’s equipment, which was cleared from the building.

Airpark provides parking on Berry Street and shuttle services to and from Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport — but it hasn’t paved the puffery to put up a parking lot.

Airpark has, however, expanded its parking facilities into the vacant space on the north side of the Prairie Maid plant, which was part of the purchase. It now seeks a tenant to lease the 25,000-square-foot Prairie Maid building.

Chicago-based TreeHouse, best known in Canada as the owner of Ontario jam, spread and pie filling maker E.D. Smith, plus several U.S. processors, expects to close the purchase of Associated in its third fiscal quarter.

Associated today is majority owned by Toronto equity firm TorQuest Partners, which took the company from publicly traded to privately held in 2007.

Beyond its work with Prairie Maid, Associated is known as a private-label maker of powdered drinks, specialty teas and sweeteners, as well as instant oatmeal, hot chocolate drinks, dessert mixes, soups, bouillon, side dishes and assorted “nutritional and weight management products.”

TreeHouse bills itself as one of the biggest pickle packers and makers of non-dairy powdered creamer in the U.S., as well as the biggest maker of private-label salad dressings, powdered drink mixes and instant hot cereals in the U.S. and Canada based on sales volumes.

About the author

Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Writer and editor. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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