In the mid-2000s, Lassonde Specialities was doing well – very well, in fact. As you may recall, this subsidiary grew out of the acquisition of Produits Ronald with its plant in Saint-Damase. Its corn on the cob, sold locally under private labels, was a big hit, especially in northern Europe. Lassonde Specialities was actually the world’s second biggest manufacturer of this veggie treat. Its Canton product line, which celebrated its 25-year anniversary in 2006, continued to expand. Chocolate fondue, soup, BBQ sauce, brunch beans and much else besides took their place alongside the original fondue broths and sauces.
Nevertheless, Lassonde Specialties wasn’t realizing its full growth potential. The board of directors thus mandated then CEO Jean Messier to evaluate possible acquisitions with a view to extending the company’s reach throughout North America. At that point, he crossed paths with the founders and owners of Mondiv: Vito Monopoli and Alberto Di Valerio.
Mondiv was also doing very well. Its Antico pasta sauces, inspired by traditional Italian cuisine, were sold in supermarkets. The company also manufactured a variety of products for restaurants and supermarket chains in Canada and the United States. But its ultramodern Boisbriand plant was reaching the limits of its capacity and growth prospects were proving limited.
It was a marriage of destiny: the two companies had the same objectives, the same corporate culture, and the same entrepreneurial spirit. Jean Messier, Alberto Di Valerio and Vito Monopoli didn’t dally in making it official – at an Italian restaurant, of course!
Next column: Another apple product…