Driscolls's field group

Driscoll’s and Costa have had a relationship since 2010

US berry giant Driscoll’s has expanded its presence in Australia with the acquisition of Costa Group, a leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables in the country.

The deal for the “significant” stake in Costa was part of “a logical progression” of the relationship between Driscoll’s and Costa, which began in 2010, according to the California-headquartered group.

Driscoll’s completed the purchase as part of a North American consortium led by Paine Schwartz Partners and including British Columbia Investment Management Corporation.

Started in the late 1800s by the Costa family, the firm has since grown into a global horticultural company supplying blueberries, tomatoes, citrus, avocados, mushrooms and grapes with a grower network across every state of Australia, China, Morocco and southern Africa.

Its products are sold into numerous countries around the world, including throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and North America.

Costa is specifically known for the development of genetics and new plant varieties, especially blueberries. In 2023, it launched a record four new blueberry varieties, with a “strong” pipeline of products to fuel future growth.

Driscoll’s and Costa already ran a joint venture in Australia for blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. Driscoll’s also has an expansion program in the Americas using Costa blueberry varieties. And in 2016, the two groups formalised a joint venture in China for a berry production company.

“This is one of the largest equity investments Driscoll’s has ever made, which speaks to the formidable partnership and considerable value we see in the Costa portfolio and the company’s long-term future and growth prospects,” said CEO Soren Bjorn.

Driscoll’s and Costa will be working on specific projects to grow the global berry business, with the existing arrangements in China, Australia and the Americas unaffected.

Over the past few decades, Paine Schwartz Partners has invested $5.7bn in agriculture and the food supply chain, which includes a prior equity stake in Costa. Its other investments include companies that grow premium fresh produce, such as Monterey Mushrooms, as well as ag-tech companies, including AgroFresh.

Driscoll’s berries are grown in more than 20 countries and are available across North America, Australia, the UK, Europe and China.