The sale of Dole's Vegetables division to Chiquita will help solve labor and inflation-related issues, increase innovation and create even stronger food safety programs in salad kits and other categories, according to the companies.

Chiquita is acquiring the division for about $293 million in cash. In the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2021, the division reported revenue of $1.28 billion. The business has agricultural operations and four processing plants across the United States and employs more than 3,000 people.

Woman in a blue dress with fruit headdress in front of a photo booth for Chiquita at IFPA 2022

Chiquita's booth at the 2022 IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, Fla. | Source: Hayley Hyer / Sosland Publishing Co.

“We are pleased to announce the sale of our Fresh Vegetables Division. Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies, and food safety," said Carl McCann, Dole's executive chairman.

Jose Luis Cutrale Jr., Chiquita Holdings’ chairman, said the deal combines best practices across food safety, freshness of produce, mechanization, automation, and innovation to offer rapidly expanding choices of safer and healthier produce products to the consumer.

"This combination will ultimately help drive growth in the entire produce industry and support higher demand for our valued produce grower base," he said. "The combination of both businesses, when consummated, will allow us to continue to create the best products under the Fresh Express umbrella. The anticipated cost savings from this combination will help partially mitigate the recent period of inflationary pressures experienced throughout the produce, food and beverage sectors of the economy."