Top 10: US food and beverage manufacturers of 2015
Food and beverage manufacturers help make the world go round, processing raw materials into value-added forms that are easier to work with or eat for the average busy consumer. Every year, Food Processing releases a comprehensive list gathering together the Top 100 food and beverage manufacturers in the United States. But our question is: who cracked the top 10?
All of the big names are there, and while consumers might not know corporations like JBS USA or ConAgra, they certainly know the consumer brands that fall within their portfolios (Swift meats by the former and Libby’s, Chef Boyardee, and Healthy Choice by the latter—to name just a few).
For 2015, it’s interesting to note that the top two contenders did not budge in their positions compared to where they stood in 2014. Mergers and acquisitions played a large role in the rankings for 2015, as 2014 was the busiest year to date, with 503 deals recorded by Food Processing.
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Some of the largest M&A deals of the year included Tyson Foods’ acquisition of Hillshire Brands for $8.55 billion and Post Holdings Inc.’s acquisition of Michael Foods Inc. for $2.45 billion. General Mills Inc. added to its natural and organic products portfolio by getting Annie’s Inc. for $810 million. Annie’s, with more than 145 products, had net sales of $204 million in its last fiscal year ended March 2014.
For now, here are the 10 businesses at the very top of the industry:
10. General Mills, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $12.5 billion
General Mills began in the U.S. with flour mills on the banks of the Mississippi river in Minneapolis, Minnesota back in 1866. With food marketed in more than 100 countries on six continents, in fiscal year 2015, the company earned a global net sales of $17.6 billion.
9. Smithfield Foods, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $13.4 billion
Smithfield Foods is a leading consumer packaged meats company. The company is also the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, committed to providing good food in a responsible way.
8. Kraft Foods, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $14.3 billion
H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods Group have completed a merger, becoming the 3rd largest food and beverage company in North America and the 5th largest in the world.
7. ConAgra Foods, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $15.8 billion
ConAgra Foods makes many leading brands, including: Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM and Banquet, among others.
6. Anheuser-Busch InBev | 2014 Food Sales: $16.1 billion
ABInBev is the leading global brewwer and one of the world's top 5 consumer product companies. Beer, the original social network, has been bringing people together for thousands of years and the company's portfolio of well over 200 beer brands continues to forge strong connections with consumers.
5. Coca Cola, Co. | 2014 Food Sales: $21.4 billion
Coca Cola's mission is to refresh the world, inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and create value and make a difference.
4. JBS USA | 2014 Food Sales: $24 billion
JBS USA is a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb in the U.S., a leading processor of beef in Canada and the largest cattle feeder in the world with operations in the U.S. and Canada.
3. Nestle | 2014 Food Sales: $27.9 billion
Nestlé's mission of "Good Food, Good Life" is to provide consumers with the best tasting, most nutritious choices in a wide range of food and beverage categories and eating occasions, from morning to night.
2. Tyson Foods, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $36 billion
Tyson Foods is a leading producer of chicken, beef and pork. Many people don’t know that the company also makes a variety of prepared foods, such as pizza toppings and crusts, tortillas and chips, deli meats, appetizers, soups sauces and side dishes.
1. PepsiCo, Inc. | 2014 Food Sales: $38.2 billion
PepsiCo began in 1965 with the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay. Today, it's a global food and beverage leader with over $66 billion in net revenue in 2014 and a global portfolio of diverse and beloved brands.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.