Confusingly, ownership of the Bertolli brand is now split between four separate companies. As of 2021, none of these is the brand's previous owner Unilever, who bought the Bertolli olive oil company in 1993 and expanded it into several other food segments over the next 15 years. By the mid-2000s, however, the original olive oil business had slowed and a gradual disposal of the Bertolli brand began. The oil business was sold in 2008 to Grupo SOS of Spain, now known as Deoleo. Four years later, the group transferred a range of Bertolli-branded frozen meals marketed in the US to ConAgra. In 2014, Unilever also sold off its Bertolli pasta sauces business in the US to Mizkan of Japan. It retained ownership of the Bertolli name, as well as rights to use it for spreads, but then Unilever's entire margarine division was spun off in 2018 as Upfield. That left a handful of pasta sauces and culinary products in Europe in Unilever's ownership, and these too were finally divested in 2021 to Dutch company Enrico-Glasbest, along with ownership of the Bertolli trademark. Reflecting its now widely diversified ownership, the Bertolli brand's profile and product range varies widely from market to market, but the US and Germany are its biggest global markets. As highlighted in the date which sits beneath the logo, the Bertolli brand was first developed in 1865 in Lucca, Italy, when Francesco and Caterina Bertolli opened a shop beneath their family home to sell their own pressings of olive oil. The business expanded rapidly at the end of the 1890s when several family members moved to the US and began importing its products. As a result, Bertolli was, it is claimed, the first Italian olive oil exported to the US.
Capsule checked 7th January 2021
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