Campbell Soup Company has agreed to purchase Tualatin-based natural foods company Pacific Foods for $700 million in cash, the soup giant announced Thursday.

Pacific Foods, which employs more than 500 people in Oregon, said it expects to continue operations of its facilities in the state after the deal is completed.

The company said the move was its best bet for continuing to grow its business in soup, broth and plant-based beverages.

“The pressure to grow … is inherent in business,” CEO and co-founder Chuck Eggert said in a message posted to Facebook. “When we started looking at our options for increasing capacity – really what we can do to scale organics and provide more people with high quality, nourishing foods at prices they can afford – we realized we couldn’t do it alone.”

When we started Pacific Foods 30 years ago, we never suspected the company would grow to become a leading maker of...

Posted by Pacific Foods on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meanwhile, Camden, N.J.-based Campbell’s (NYSE: CPB) said Pacific Foods would offer growth opportunities for the iconic American company in a burgeoning organics category.

“This acquisition is consistent with our purpose, ‘real food that matters for life’s moments,’” Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Pacific is an authentic brand with a loyal consumer following. The acquisition allows us to expand into faster-growing spaces such as organic and functional food."

Campbell's said in its announcement that Pacific Foods "has a sustained track record of growth" and generated $218 million in net sales in the 12 months prior to May 31. The company said Eggert would be "staying on as a supplier of key ingredients through his family farms."

Pete Danko covers energy, manufacturing and ports.