- STRENGTH OF BRAND:Acquisition of Weston Foods has significantly expanded company's portfolio and distribution reach in the U.S.
- TYING INTO CONSUMER TRENDS: immediately appeal to Latin American demographics; other brands such as Arnold, Oroweat and Brownberry continue to innovate with new better-for-you products.
UPON COMPLETING the acquisition of the U.S. bakery businesses of Weston Foods from Toronto-based George Weston Ltd. last year, Bimbo Bakeries became the largest baked-goods company in the United States and one of world's largest food corporations, with a portfolio of brands that includes Arnold breads, Boboli pizza crusts, Thomas' English muffins and Entenmann's snacks.
Mexico City-based parent company Groupo Bimbo has been familiar with the U.S. market since the mid-1980s, when it began distributing its products to stores in Texas and California, and slowly began acquiring leading regional bakers such as Mrs. Baird's and Oroweat. During the past 18 months, Bimbo Bakeries USA has taken the $2.4 billion acquisition of Weston Foods in stride, posting cumulative dollar sales growth of 4.4% through the second quarter of fiscal 2010.
That growth was led, in part, by the launch of the Bimbo bread brand — already an iconic product throughout Latin America — in new markets throughout the U.S.
The company is a leader in health and wellness trends as well. Last July, its Arnold and Brownberry brands announced that they would eliminate all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from their breads by October 2009. Oroweat and Arnold brands also expanded their popular selection of 100-calorie sandwich thins with new whole wheat and multi-grain lines. And, all three brands launched their new “Get Ingrained” grants program, which awards two $15,000 grants to organizations committed to bettering the health of their communities.
COMPANY TO WATCH
SARA LEE: In a challenging climate for branded bakery suppliers, Sara Lee's Fresh Bakery group continued to perform this year, launching cutting-edge new products, reinvesting in marketing efforts and adjusting pricing to compete with private-label brands. This year, the group stayed ahead of consumer trends, introducing better-for-you innovations such as Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Plus Breads Made With DHA Omega-3, and EarthGrains breads made with sustainably grown and harvested Eco-Grain wheat. It's easy to see why one voter described Sara Lee Fresh Bakery as “the table captains.”