A lot has happened in the baking and snack industries since Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery published its lists of top U.S. bakers and snack manufacturers a year ago. Acquisitions, mergers, plant openings and closings, anniversary celebrations and other events have kept well-known industry names in the news this year.
The most notable of these was Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc. (“Old HB”), which filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2012, and began accepting bids for its assets and brands shortly thereafter. Four bakeries eventually prevailed. Flowers Foods in Thomasville, Ga., now owns the majority of Hostess’ bread brands, including Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut. McKee Foods in Collegedale, Tenn., acquired the Drake’s snack cakes brand. United States Bakery (a.k.a Franz Family Bakeries) in Portland, Ore., added the Sweetheart, Eddy’s, Standish Farms and Grandma Emilie’s bread brands to its offerings. Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. in Mexico City now owns the Beefsteak bread brand.
The majority of Old HB’s snack cake business, including Hostess and Dolly Madison branded products, was purchased by Apollo Global Management LLC and Metropoulos & Co. The resulting company—Hostess Brands LLC in Kansas City, Mo.—delighted consumers young and old this summer by returning Hostess snack cakes, including the iconic Twinkies, to store shelves in July. McKee Foods and Flower Foods followed suit, relaunching Drake’s snack cakes and Wonder, Merita, Home Pride and Butternut products, respectively, in September.
But these companies weren’t the only ones making big news in the baking and snack industry in 2013, although it sometimes seemed like it. Other prominent names contributed this year to the industry’s ever-changing landscape:
• Industry giant ConAgra Foods Inc. purchased St. Louis-based Ralcorp Holdings, becoming one of the largest packaged food companies in North America and positioning itself as the largest private-label packaged food business in North America.
• Tyson Mexican Original Inc., a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Ark., and the second-largest tortilla manufacturer in the U.S., acquired the assets of Don Julio Foods, a tortilla and salty snack manufacturer in Clearfield, Utah.
• The Hillshire Brands Co., Chicago, bought Golden Island Jerky, a gourmet jerky manufacturer in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
• Hearthside Food Solutions LLC, Downers Grove, Ill., and Ryt-Way Industries, Lakeville, Minn., two Wind Point Partners portfolio companies, merged in May.
And the list goes on and on.
Some bakers and snack manufacturers opted to expand their operations by building new plants, rather than by buying or merging with other companies. Angelic Bakehouse, Waukesha, Wis.; Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Oberto Brands, Kent, Wash.; and Mondelez International, Deerfield, Ill., all announced plans to add facilities in the U.S. or abroad.
Celebrations abounded this year as well: Love and Quiches, Freeport, N.Y., enjoyed its 40th anniversary; Pepperidge Farm, Norwalk, Conn., celebrated the 60th anniversary of its Downers Grove, Ill., bakery; Golden Flake Snack Foods, Birmingham, Ala., turned 90; and sandwich cracker manufacturer Lance, Charlotte, N.C., and Sanders Bumpy Cake, a creation of Sanders Fine Chocolates in Clinton Township, Mich., became the industry’s latest centenarians.
While some companies were celebrating their longevity in the baking and snack food industries, others were just entering it. Minneapolis-based Green Giant, a General Mills brand known for its canned and frozen vegetables, launched two veggie chips in March. Who knows who or what will venture into the market next year?
All of these occurrences can make it difficult to keep track the industry’s major players, their brands, changes in top management and so on. Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s second annual Top Bakers & Snack Manufacturers lists, while not definitive, are intended to give readers a better understanding of their industry.
The information for these lists comes numerous sources. We sent privately-held companies a copy of their 2012 listing and asked them to update the existing information. We consulted a variety of online sources to update as much of the information as possible on unreturned forms. We referred to the most recent annual reports of publicly-held companies for their information. We also invited companies to complete a Top Bakers & Snack Manufacturers response form on our website, www.snackandbakery.com.
We’d like to thank those companies that contributed to this report, and hope that those that declined our invitation to participate will get involved next year. With all the changes taking place in the baking and snack industry each year, it’s important for companies to keep their brands and products on customers’ and consumers’ must-have lists.
You can view the entire PDF HERE!