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Salyer American Fresh Foods acquired by SK Foods CEO Scott Salyer

Scott Salyer, chief executive officer of international food processor SK Foods, has become the sole owner of Salinas, CA-based Salyer American Fresh Foods Inc., a company established 20 years ago by Mr. Salyer and his family.

As one of the larger fresh produce suppliers to corporate and retail customers nationwide, Salyer American Fresh Foods will become a division of SK Foods based in California in Monterey and the Central Valley.

Mr. Salyer said in a statement that SK Foods has "a well-deserved reputation for processing and formulating top-of-the line fresh products for the country's largest food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice organizations. The strength of the two entities will complement one another."

Salyer American Fresh Foods has operations in California and Arizona and markets products under the "American Classic" brand.

The companies have had longtime family and business ties with one another. Salyer American Fresh Foods was established in 1986 when Salyer American, the family-owned farming organization, chose to diversify from its longtime economic anchors of grain and cotton.

Salyer American Fresh Foods continued independently with Mr. Salyer as a shareholder. He has now acquired the balance of company shares that were previously held by his father, Fred Salyer, and his sister Linda Salyer Lee for an undisclosed amount.

SK Foods' senior executives Alan Huey and Rick Emmett will oversee the fresh foods company with Mr. Huey named president and chief operating officer and Mr. Emmett appointed vice president of agricultural operations. Peter Romero, who is in the fresh foods industry, has joined the company as vice president of sales and marketing.

Previously, Mr. Huey was vice president of sales and marketing, and business development at SK Foods, where he spent 27 years. Mr. Emmett has been with SK Foods for 22 years, Mr. Huey said.

Salyer American will continue to run as an independent company, according to Mr. Huey, and there are "not a lot of changes" planned. He said that the move consolidates efforts "with a lot of synergies."

For SK Foods, the consolidated efforts add to its raw-material supplies and crop rotation, Mr. Huey said. The vertically integrated Salyer American controls its produce from seed to harvest.

The consolidation strengthens the link to SK Foods and its avenues for Salyer American to move product into the marketplace. Lettuce still will be the core commodity for Salyer American, he said.

"Salyer American Fresh Foods has valuable, long-term customer relationships that are recognized regionally and nationally," Mr. Huey said. "The 'American Classic' brand is expected to flourish as these relationships are enhanced by the direct association with SK Foods."

"It's a natural fit," said Mr. Salyer.

Established in 1990, SK Foods has grown from its beginning as a processor of tomato paste and sauces for industrial re-manufacturers to become a leading supplier of processed vegetable products for some of the world's more recognized brands. In addition, it is one of the larger certified producers of organic products.

The firm's product line includes tomato sauces, diced tomatoes, purees and pastes, pasta sauces, salsas, green chilis, jalape?os, tomatillos and other formulated products. A full line of canning, glass and plastic packaging options for retail and foodservice is available in addition to packaging for industrial clients.

In 2003, SK Foods completed the purchase of Cedenco Foods, which serves customers in the Pacific region with formulated food products and has facilities in New Zealand and Australia. Northern California's Colusa Canning was acquired by SK Foods in 2003 and was expanded to include multiple canning products for tomatoes, chilis and Mexican sauces.