About Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially at Gilster-Mary Lee. One of the largest private-label cereal manufacturers in the US (behind Ralcorp Holdings), Gilster-Mary Lee makes more than 8,000 products under 500 private labels, including breakfast cereal, cake, baking mixes, cocoa and other drink mixes, dinner mixes, pasta, and more. The company's customers include major US grocery chains, food wholesalers, including Pinnacle Foods, and foodservice operators. It operates 15 manufacturing plants in four states and its products are available worldwide. The Gilster family founded the company as a flour mill in 1895. It is run by the great-nephews of the company's founders.

Geographic Reach

Illinois-based Gilster-Mary Lee provides its products worldwide.


The company operates 15 manufacturing plants located in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. It boasts its own fleet of trucks, which delivers Gilster's products to customers in Canada and the US. It also ships products overseas.


To boost its output of shredded wheat cereals, Gilster-Mary Lee has been investing in its production facilities in recent years. The company added conveying equipment, rotary cereal cookers, shredding rolls, and a roughly 230-ft. cereal oven that was specially designed to its production line. Gilster's facilities upgrade comes amid rising demand for more affordable private-label food products -- cereals included.

In 2014 the company is selling its Centralia, Illinois, production facility -- which for more than 15 years has been responsible for making Duncan Hines products for Pinnacle Foods under a third-party manufacturing agreement -- to Pinnacle Foods.

The company is also expanding its product offering and production capacity through acquisitions.

Mergers and Acqusitions

In mid-2012 Gilster-Mary Lee acquired the assets of family-owned, Indiana-based Little Crow Foods, including FastShake pancake mixes, Fryin' Magic and Baking Miracle seasoned coating mixes, and Miracle Maize corn bread and muffin mixes, as well as inventory, product formulas, and equipment. Gilster will continue to market the acquired brands under their established names.

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Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation

1037 State St
Chester, IL 62233-1657
Phone: 1 (618) 826-2361
Fax: 1 (618) 826-2973


  • Employer Type: Private
  • President and CEO: Donald Welge
  • President and CEO: Donald Welge
  • CFO: Michael Welge

Major Office Locations

  • Chester, IL

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