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Del Monte Foods Rings in New Company at NYSE Ceremony and Unveils NewCorporate Logo Company Will Make Donation to Windows of Hope Family Relief FundBased on Number of DLM Shares Traded Today on NYSE


       Showcases New Brands with Appearance of Charlie the Tuna
                           on Exchange Floor

Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM) today officially launched its new company and unveiled a new corporate logo in ceremonies at various company locations and at the New York Stock Exchange where Chairman and CEO Richard G. Wolford will ring the closing bell.

The new Del Monte Foods Company was created through a transaction completed on December 20, 2002 under which the company acquired H.J. Heinz Company's (NYSE: HNZ) U.S. Seafood, North American Pet Food and Pet Snacks, U.S. Private Label Soup, and U.S. Infant Feeding businesses. As a result of the transaction, the new Del Monte becomes a preeminent branded marketer in the U.S. retail market with:

    --  A portfolio that includes some of the best-known retail brands
        in America: Del Monte®, Contadina®, S&W®, StarKist®,
        9Lives®, Kibbles' n Bits®, Pup-Peroni®, Snausages®,
        Nawsomes!®, Pounce®, Nature's Goodness® and College
    --  $3.1 billion in annual pro forma sales, more than doubling Del
        Monte's fiscal 2002 sales.
    --  Products in the cupboards of at least eight out of ten
        American homes.
    --  90% of its pro forma sales centered in the North American
        Retail Grocery Market with a broad range of compelling new
        merchandising and promotional opportunities.
    --  75% of its annual sales coming from branded sales, two-thirds
        of which are from the number one brand in their categories.
    --  Synergies realized in large part through improved production
        and distribution efficiencies.
    --  An enhanced capital structure with substantial free cash flow.

"With our powerful brand portfolio and a leadership position in the center store of the U.S. retail food industry, the new Del Monte is now extremely well positioned to deliver a broad array of premium quality products to consumers as well as new business building opportunities for our retail partners," said Richard G. Wolford, Chairman and CEO of Del Monte. "Behind our potent product lineup stands a talented and experienced management team dedicated to delivering excellent products and services to customers. This is a company with building momentum and focused energy as we work to deliver on the potential of this combination."

"Importantly, we have a clear and achievable strategy designed to capitalize on this unique opportunity. We expect to leverage Del Monte's already well established go-to-market infrastructure to grow our company by fully utilizing the business building blocks assembled through this combination. We will improve operating effectiveness and streamline distribution of our dry grocery products, resulting in synergies we will invest back into the businesses. We plan to increase consumer support for our inherently strong brands and, as well, drive greater product innovation, particularly in the higher-growth categories of pet foods, pet snacks and seafood. We also expect to re-label the baby food business, leveraging the Del Monte brand's rich heritage, as well as partner with our customers to grow the company's private label soup business. The company also intends to utilize the company's substantial free cash flow to reduce debt levels overall."

    New Corporate Logo

Wolford continued, "We are launching the new company under a new corporate logo, which is appropriate at this transformative moment for Del Monte. Today marks our taking to market a very much expanded portfolio of strong brands and products. This new logo appropriately utilizes our famous Shield icon to represent our new company. However, Del Monte's billion dollar branded trademark, the familiar red and gold Del Monte Shield, will of course continue to be our consumer symbol of quality and dependability for all Del Monte branded products sold across the U.S. market."


"We are also pleased to deepen our relationship with the New York Stock Exchange," said Wolford. "As the world's premier equities marketplace -- and an organization that shares our commitment to quality, innovation and service -- the NYSE is the ideal partner for Del Monte as we begin the next phase of our corporate growth and development."

    Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund

To mark the launch of the new company, Del Monte is making a donation to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, an organization that provides aid, future scholarships and funds to the families of the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy who worked in the food, beverage and hospitality professions throughout the entire complex. The company will contribute one dollar for each 100 shares of DLM traded today on the New York Stock Exchange.

Said Wolford, "Del Monte has a long history of making positive community contributions. Marking the official launch day of the new Del Monte through a special donation to such an important charitable organization is particularly fitting and signals our ongoing commitment to active participation in the community."

For more information on the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, visit their website at

    Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods Company, with over $3 billion in sales, is one of the country's largest and most well-known producers and distributors of premium quality, branded, consumer grocery products that can be found in approximately 80% of American households. With leading food brands, packaged for the way we eat today, such as Del Monte®, Contadina®, StarKist®, S&W®, Nature's Goodness®, and College Inn® , and premier branded foods and snacks for pets including 9Lives®, Kibbles' n Bits®, Pup-Peroni®, Snausages®, and Nawsomes!®, Del Monte products are sold nationwide in a full range of retail outlets. The Company also sells its products to the U.S. military, certain export markets, the foodservice industry and food processors. The Del Monte brand, over 100 years old, has a rich heritage and is synonymous with quality, wholesomeness and good-for-you nutrition. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Company operates 17 production facilities and 18 distribution centers in North America and has operating facilities in American Samoa, Ecuador and Venezuela. For more information on Del Monte Foods Company, visit the Company's website at

This press release contains forward-looking statements conveying management's expectations as to the future based on plans, estimates and projections at the time the Company makes the statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and the Company cautions you that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any such forward-looking statement. The forward-looking statements contained herein include statements about the merger with the Heinz Businesses and future financial operating results.

Factors relating to the merger of the Heinz Businesses that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein include, among others: the actions of the U.S., foreign and local governments; the success of the business integration in a timely and cost-effective manner; the risk that the Company may incur liabilities as a result of the transaction that are currently unknown; costs related to the transaction; and other economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors affecting the transaction.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, factors relating to future financial operating results that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein include, among others: general economic and business conditions; weather conditions; energy costs and availability; crop yields; competition, including pricing and promotional spending levels by competitors; raw material costs and availability; high leverage; the loss of significant customers or a substantial reduction in orders from these customers; market acceptance of new products; successful integration of acquired businesses; successful implementation of the Company's capability improvement program; consolidation of processing plants; changes in business strategy or development plans; availability, terms and deployment of capital; ability to increase prices; changes in, or the failure or inability to comply with, governmental regulations, including, without limitation, environmental regulations; industry trends, including changes in buying and inventory practices by customers; production capacity constraints and other factors.

These factors are described in more detail in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2002. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company does not undertake to update any of these statements in light of new information or future events.

CONTACT:          (Investor Relations)
                  Del Monte Foods, San Francisco
                  Tom Gibbons, 415/247-3382
                  (Media Inquiries)
                  Citigate Sard Verbinnen, New York 
                  Drew Brown/Stephanie Sorrentino

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SOURCE: Del Monte