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Maple Leaf Foods Acquires Grace Baking Company to Expand its Artisan Bread Product Line

Toronto, ON – Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. (TSX :MFI) today announced that it has acquired the Grace Baking Company of San Francisco, California, a leading independent producer of fresh and frozen artisan bread products. Grace Baking operates from a manufacturing facility in Richmond, California, and has annual revenue of about US$18 million.

“Grace Baking brings to Maple Leaf Bakery a wealth of knowledge, experience and a brand reputation for producing premium quality artisan bread products,” said Richard Lan, President and COO of Maple Leaf’s Bakery Products Group. “The management and employees of Grace Baking are a strong addition to our team.”

“This acquisition expands the range of products that we can offer to our customers, and is highly complementary to our existing par bake business. It will allow us to respond to rapidly growing consumer demand for these high-end bakery products in both fresh and frozen product lines," said Douglas MacFarlane, President of Maple Leaf Bakery USA.

Grace Baking was founded in 1987 as a retail bakery and grew into the leading fresh artisan bread bakery in the San Francisco area. The company began producing frozen artisan bread products several years ago, and sells to national and regional grocers and restaurants. The company produces nutritious and innovative products such as Pugliese, Garlic and Potato Rosemary breads made with all natural ingredients.

The founders and principal shareholders of the company, Cindy and Glenn Mitchell and Fred Doar, will remain to support the growth of the artisan bread line across Maple Leaf Bakery. Glenn Mitchell is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and one of the few bakers to have won a Gold Cup at the prestigious Coup de Monde de la Boulangerie in France.

Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company committed to delivering quality food products to consumers around the world. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, the Company employs more than 15,000 people at its operations across Canada, and in the United States, Europe and Asia. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported sales of $4.8 billion in 2001.

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