Conagra is closing Boomchickapop’s Minneapolis headquarters and moving the work to its Chicago and Omaha offices.
Packaged-foods giant Conagra Brands Inc. bought Angie’s Artisan Treats and its popular Boomchickapop popcorn brand in September for $250 million in cash.
At the time of the sale, Chicago-based Conagra declined to comment on the fate of Boomchickapop’s headquarters, but over the past several months the company has been quietly closing the Minneapolis office down.
Conagra spokeswoman Lanie Friedman confirmed it is moving the corporate functions to Chicago and Omaha.
At its peak, Angie’s Boomchickapop employed around 25 people at its headquarters in the Loring Park neighborhood. On Thursday, only a few workers were still working at the office.
Conagra will continue making popcorn at Boomchickapop’s North Mankato facility, which employs around 100, Friedman said.
Angie and Dan Bastian started the popcorn company in 2001 in their Mankato garage. It quickly grew, appealing to health-conscious and natural-foods consumers. The brand currently offers more than a dozen flavors of its popcorn and kettle corn, including dill pickle, milk chocolate and peanut butter, chili lime and more-traditional flavors.
This is Angie’s third new owner in the last eight years. Private-equity firm Sherbrooke Capital took a minority stake in Angie’s in 2011. Three years later, the firm sold its position to TPG Growth, a unit of the world’s largest private-equity firm.
Angie Bastian remains a consultant and “brand ambassador” for Boomchickapop, Friedman said.
Large packaged-food companies have struggled to create excitement for their traditional brands among today’s consumer, who is often seeking more healthful or interesting products. Many of the big food companies are growing sales through acquisition of smaller, entrepreneurial food businesses.
Golden Valley-based General Mills and Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods Corp. have made a number of acquisitions of such companies. In many cases, both General Mills and Hormel have allowed these startup brands to maintain their headquarters, or at least a significant presence, in the city where they were founded.
For instance, Annie’s, a brand best known for its boxed organic macaroni and cheese, is owned by General Mills but remains based in Berkeley, Calif., and Justin’s nut butters is owned by Hormel but maintains its Boulder, Colo., home office.
Conagra also owns a variety of traditional food brands such as Marie Callender’s, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, Hunt’s and Orville Redenbacher’s. It recently announced plans to buy Pinnacle Foods, maker of food brands including Hungry-Man and Birds Eye, for $10.9 billion.
Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767