Bertolli is a brand of Italian food products. Originating as a brand of extra-virgin olive oil, in which it was the global market leader, pasta sauces and ready meals are now sold under the brand name as well.
In 2008, the company was bought by Unilever, which then sold the olive oil business to Grupo SOS (currently Grupo Deoleo), Spain’s second-largest food group, for £500m as part of its disposal of non-core businesses. The transaction included the sale of the Italian Maya, Dante, and San Giorgio olive oil and seed oil businesses, as well as the factory at Inveruno, Province of Milan, Lombardy.
On 22 May 2014, Unilever agreed to sell its North American pasta sauce business under the Ragú and Bertolli brands to the Mizkan Group of Japan for US$2.15 billion, while these brands are owned in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Symington's, a private label food manufacturer.
The frozen meals sold by Bertolli are branded under "Meals for One", "Meals for Two" and "Dessert" categories. Sales fell in the 2014 year for the frozen foods brands. ConAgra also focused in 2015 on growth in private-label products that retailers sell under their own brand.
In 2018, parent company Deoleo agreed to pay a US$7 million settlement to resolve a class action lawsuit which had alleged that the company had misrepresented Bertolli olive oil, and committed to undertake several actions to correct such misrepresentation.
The suit had alleged that it was misleading for Bertolli to advertise its olive oil as being "Imported from Italy" when the oils actually came from olives grown and pressed in Greece, Chile, Spain, Australia, Turkey, and Tunisia, and had merely been mixed and bottled in Italy.
Deoleo removed the phrase "Imported from Italy" from its products and committed not to use similar phrasing in the future unless the oil is derived entirely from olives grown and pressed in Italy. Additionally, the suit alleged that the clear bottles used by Bertolli for its oil were inadequate to protect them from sunlight and temperature extremes, such that the olive oil would not meet the "extra virgin" quality standard by the time it reached consumers.
As part of this settlement, Deoleo implemented several new practices to help ensure that its oil would meet the "extra virgin" standard at the time of sale and use:
- using dark green bottles to protect its extra virgin olive oil from photooxidation
- implementing stricter testing protocols
- disclosing the date on which the olives used to make the oil were harvested on the bottle
- shortening “best by” period indicated on the bottle
On November 15, 2018, parent company Deoleo was granted an injunction against Natural Solutions Magazine, preventing the magazine from continuing false and misleading statements against Bertolli and one of Deoleo's other brands Carapelli.
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