By Jonathan Katz Pittsburgh-based H.J. Heinz Co., a global food company with more than $9 billion in sales, has announced plans to acquire IDF Holdings Inc., the parent company of International DiverseFoods Inc. (IDF), to accelerate the growth of its away-from-home eating business. "Away-from-home eating is one of the hottest trends in the food industry, and Heinz is well positioned to capitalize on it," says William R. Johnson, president and CEO of Heinz. "The addition of a quality company like IDF will provide further scale while also fortifying our R&D capabilities." The deal is expected to be finalized soon. IDF, which produces portion control and bulk products including sauces, condiments, and salad dressings, is based in Nashville. The company has about 260 employees and sales that surpassed $100 million in 1999. It will be managed by Heinz subsidiary Portion Pac Inc. "We're excited about it," says Anvil Nelson, president of IDF. "It certainly makes a statement for us, and (for) Heinz by expanding into a new line of products that they don't have. And it certainly makes a statement to our customer base about our intent on being in this business and being owned by one of the largest food companies in the country."