East Harlem’s Rao’s Pasta Sauces: From Elite NY Eatery To $2.7B Campbell’s Deal

August 8, 2023

With only 10 cherished tables, Rao’s Italian restaurant in East Harlem offers one of New York’s most sought-after dining experiences, boasting generational standing reservations.

Despite its 127-year history, Rao’s has expanded to sister restaurants in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but for a taste of its famed pasta sauce, the grocery aisle is the way to go.

Since 1991, Rao’s Homemade products, featuring whole peeled tomatoes, fresh garlic, onions, and basil, have been capturing hearts. The journey to success was gradual until Sovos Brands took over Rao’s Homemade packaged foods division in 2017, igniting remarkable growth.

According to Yuri Hermida, Sovos Chief Growth Officer, Rao’s is now more than nine times its size in 2017, exceeding $600 million in sales on a yearly basis, with ambitions to reach a billion-dollar status.

Impressively, over 80% of Sovos’ business is attributed to the sauce, which has found its way into one in eight American households. The brand’s 2022 sales hit $580 million, predominantly through major retailers like Costco and Walmart, and 2023 has seen a remarkable sales surge of over 33%.

In a significant development, Sovos recently unveiled a game-changing $2.7 billion deal with Campbell Soup, marking Campbell’s stride towards its $1 billion sauce business aspiration. This acquisition includes Rao’s Homemade, further solidifying the brand’s position in the market.

Rao’s exceptional journey from intimate restaurant to sauce sensation continues to captivate palates and business landscapes alike.

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