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McCormick Buys Cholula Hot Sauce for a Spicy $800 Million

Plus, House Democrats are now investigating Trump’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, and more news to start your day

Bottles of Cholula hot sauces lined up on a grocery store shelf. Photo: David Tonelson/Shutterstock

McCormick is getting a little hotter with Cholula

Spice and seasoning company McCormick is purchasing Cholula hot sauce from private-equity firm L Catterton, the brand announced today. The $800 million cash deal adds the Mexico-produced sauce to McCormick’s extensive portfolio, which includes its signature flavorings, French’s mustard, Old Bay, Thai Kitchen products, and Frank’s RedHot buffalo sauce.

The demand for hot sauce has soared in recent years, fueled in part by “growing immigrant populations, increasing familiarity with global cuisines and thrill-seeking food shows,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the acquisition news. Domestic hot-sauce retail sales this year will approach $1 billion, not far off from ketchup numbers, per market research company Euromonitor.

McCormick, which has seen its sales grow thanks to the rise in home cooking during the pandemic, says that Cholula’s annual sales are about $96 million and are expected to grow in a “normalized” environment after COVID-19.

Per CNBC, now all that’s left is to see whether or not a deal of this size will receive regulatory clearance.

And in other news…

  • The Trump administration paid a finance firm $16.3 million to supply milk and dairy boxes for the Farmers to Families Food Box program earlier during the pandemic. House Democrats are now investigating how much of that money actually went to middlemen and the firm’s own nonprofit instead of to people in need. [WaPo]
  • Grocery workers are reliving the worst days of the pandemic as COVID cases surge, only this time, there’s no show of hazard pay or other pandemic-related safety policies like there may have been before. [CNBC]
  • CEOs at chains like McDonald’s and Waffle House signal that they’re open to a $15 minimum wage, but customers will have to get used to higher menu prices as a result. [Business Insider]
  • New Yorkers bullied Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been propagating messages of sacrifice for the holidays, into rescinding his hypocritical invitation to his mother to travel to spend Thanksgiving with his family. [NYT]
  • Ruby Tuesday got the official okay to go ahead with a bankruptcy sale. [Restaurant Business]
  • Multi-state food recall alert: Organic romaine lettuce from Dole packaged in late October. [CNN]
  • The cronut is now shipping nationwide. [NYT]
  • Burger King Japan made a burger with one pound of meat and no bun. [SoraNews24]
  • How food manufacturers are adapting to a strange holiday season, a time that is normally considered their “Super Bowl.” [Food Dive]
  • Doughnut-flavored beer! Why not! [WTOP]
  • A playbook if you need to decline any Thanksgiving invitations:

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