Here is a great article on Ralcorp and Gilster-Mary Lee from the St. Louis Business Journal. Both are some of the nation’s largest Private Brand manufacturers and the odds are pretty good that in the last day or two you have eaten one of their products.
Ralcorp, Gilster-Mary Lee behind the private labels
Most grocery shoppers have never heard of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. or Gilster-Mary Lee Corp., but chances are better than ever they’ve bought their products.
Ralcorp and Gilster-Mary Lee are two of the nation’s largest private-label food makers. Although they don’t publicly specify the store brands they make, it’s safe to say the list is long. And with consumer demand for the cheaper private-label brands on the rise, both companies are turning out big sales gains and higher profits.
As the economy soured, more people cut back on dining out and looked for better values at the grocery store to eat at home, said Gilster-Mary Lee President and CEO Don Welge. “We sell items to almost every major wholesale grocer and retail chain in the country. The opportunities are pretty much across the board with retailers from the largest like Wal-Mart and Kroger to independent grocers.”
Those opportunities translated into a $100 million sales jump last year at the Chester, Ill.-based company, or a 14.3 percent gain to $800 million, making it the region’s 22nd largest privately held company.
Some of the company’s hottest items turned out by its 3,500-member work force include private-label breakfast cereals, macaroni and cheese, pasta, baking mixes, dehydrated potato products, microwave popcorn and cocoa mixes. The company employs 500 locally.
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