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Bolthouse Farms, founded 1915 in Grant, Michigan, is a vertically integrated farm company specializing in refrigerated beverages. It is located in the San Joaquin Valley of California and is headquartered in Bakersfield, California in Kern County. The company operates facilities in Prosser, Washington. Private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners owned Bolthouse from 2005 to 2012, when it was bought by the Campbell Soup Company for US$1.55 billion.[1] The company changed hands once again in June 2019, when Campbell sold it to an affiliate of Butterfly Equity.[2]

Bolthouse Farms
IndustryRefrigerated beverages
Founded1915 in Grant, Michigan
HeadquartersBakersfield, California
ProductsFruit juice, vegetable juice, bottled coffee beverages, pea protein milk, salad dressing, carrots
ParentMadison Dearborn Partners (2005-2012)
Campbell Soup Company (2012-present)



The farm was originally a "small muck-soil vegetable farm" until 1938 when William Herman Bolthouse took it over from his parents.[3] At that point he expanded it and began to concentrate on the production and distribution of carrots. Under his leadership, in 1973, opened a second facility in Bakersfield, CA, where year-round production was possible. His son William J. Bolthouse took over in 1985 upon his retirement. It stayed in family hands until shortly after the death William Herman Bolthouse in 2004 at age 89.

Private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners then owned Bolthouse from 2005 to 2012. It shut down all Michigan operations in June 2010.[4] Campbell Soup Company acquired the company in 2012 for US$1.55 billion.[1] In April 2019, Bolthouse Farms again fell in the hands of a private equity firm when it was bought from Campbell by an affiliate of Butterfly Equity for US$510 million.[2]

Baby carrots marketing campaignEdit

In September 2010, a marketing initiative was launched by a group of nearly 50 carrot producers led by Bolthouse Farms (calling themselves "A Bunch of Carrot Farmers") sought to promote baby-cut carrots as an alternative to junk food for children.[5] The campaign mimicked tactics typically employed by snack food marketers, including snack-food-like packaging; futuristic, sexual, and extreme sports-themed TV commercials; carrot vending machines in schools; and an iPhone game and website.[5] As of September 2016, the company markets packaged baby-cut carrots with cartoon mascots and spicing shakers under the name "Kids Veggie Snackers," including Carrot Meets Ranch (ranch dressing spices, cowboy carrot mascot) and Carrot Meets Chili Lime (cartoon hot pepper and carrot in romantic pairing).[6]

Carrot fiber productEdit

The US Food and Drug Administration has accepted Bolthouse Farms' self-certification that carrot fiber ingredient is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).[7]

Health concernsEdit

Carrot botulism outbreakEdit

In September 2006, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered a recall of Bolthouse Farms "100 per cent Carrot Juice" and other Bolthouse Farms products because of several cases of botulism resulting from consumption of the products. On September 29, 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that Georgia residents not purchase Bolthouse Farms carrot juice and warned consumers not to purchase Bolthouse Farms products stale-dated November 11, 2006, or earlier.[8]

The warning and the recalls were due to reported cases of consumption of the beverages resulting in six cases of botulism in the United States and Canada. Two cases in Toronto, Ontario, Canada resulted in paralysis; three cases recorded in Georgia, United States resulted in respiratory failure, with the patients requiring ventilators; one case recorded in Florida resulted in hospitalization. The patient in Florida was last reported to be unresponsive since mid-September 2006.[9]

In response, Bolthouse Farms said the people may have failed to properly refrigerate the products.[8] Bolthouse Farms has subsequently released an FAQ regarding the event.[10]

Relationship to the Bolthouse FoundationEdit

The Bolthouse Foundation is a religious charity funding evangelical causes.[11][12] Mr. and Mrs. William J. Bolthouse sold their interest in Wm. Bolthouse Farms in late 2005, and since then the Bolthouse Foundation has reflected their giving decisions exclusively. The Bolthouse Foundation is a separate entity from Bolthouse Farms, and all funding decisions by The Bolthouse Foundation are made solely by the Bolthouse Foundation. No members of The Bolthouse Foundation have a financial interest in Bolthouse Farms, and The Bolthouse Foundation receives neither financial support nor benefits from the profits of Bolthouse Farms.[13]

The division of Bolthouse Farms and The Bolthouse Foundation became evident in October 2008 when an article in The Los Angeles Times[14] announced that the boycott of Bolthouse Farms had ended. The advocacy group Californians Against Hate (CAH) had urged consumers not to support Bolthouse Farms. On October 9, 2008, CAH campaign manager Fred Karger issued a statement saying that the "Don't Buy Bolthouse" campaign had ended.[15]


  1. ^ a b Campbell Soup to Buy Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 Billion
  2. ^ a b CNBC (2019-04-12). "Campbell Soup to sell Bolthouse Farms for $510 million". Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  3. ^ "Family Puts Company on Auction Block" by Dick Lehnert, Produce Processing Magazine, June 2005[1]
  4. ^ "After 90 years of operations, Bolthouse Farms will close original Grant facility" by Jordan Travis., Mar 20, 2010[2]
  5. ^ a b Horvitz, Bruce (September 3, 2010). "Baby Carrots Take On Junk Food with Hip Marketing Campaign". USAToday.
  6. ^ "Kids Veggie Snackers". Bolthouse Farms. Archived from the original on 9 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ FDA/CFSAN: Agency Response: GRAS Notice No. GRN 000116 Archived January 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b "Consumers to blame for botulism outbreak, juice maker says" CBC News, Wednesday, October 11, 2006. Online: [3]
  9. ^ "Toxic carrot juice paralyzes 2 in Toronto" CBC News, Monday, October 9, 2006. Online: [4]
  10. ^ "Bolthouse Recall FAQ" (PDF). Bolthouse Farms. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 November 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Affirmation of Faith". Bolthouse Foundation. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Home". Bolthouse Foundation. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  13. ^ As stated on the Bolthouse Foundation website
  14. ^ Bolthouse Farms article in the L.A. Times
  15. ^ Statement from Californians Against Hate

External linksEdit