If you're familiar with the munchies named Toastchee, Nipchee, and Captain's Wafers, Snyder's-Lance (formerly Lance) has undoubtedly helped you satisfy a snack attack. The company produces single-serve, multi-pack, and family-sized packages of bakery products and sweet and savory snack foods, including cookies, crackers, nuts, potato chips, and pretzels. Its snacks are sold under the Lance, Cape Cod, Tom's, Archway, and Snyder's brands at food retailers, mass merchants, and convenience and club stores in the US. The company also makes private-label and branded snacks for food makers. The company changed its name to Snyder's-Lance in late 2010 after buying pretzel maker Snyder's of Hanover.
Based in North Carolina, Snyder's-Lance operates manufacturing facilities in the US in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, Georgia, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, and Ohio, as well as in Ontario, Canada.
Sales and Marketing
Snyder's-Lance logged $23.1 million in advertising expenses in fiscal 2012. The snack food giant sells its products to mass merchandisers, club stores, discount stores, convenience stores, foodservice operators, and other retailers the likes of drug stores, the military, schools, and government facilities. Wal-Mart, its largest customer, represented about 18% of the company's revenues in both 2012 and 2011.
The company distributes snack food products nationwide using a large direct-store-delivery (DSD) network consisting of some 3,000 distribution routes served mostly by Independent Business Owners (IBOs) and others that are company-owned.
Blending the Snyder's and Lance businesses has made Snyder's-Lance the No. 2 salty snack maker in the US. Snyder's-Lance boasts about a dozen owned brands, as well as a vast collection of popular licensed names, such as Bugles. Snyder's and Lance retained their corporate offices in North Carolina and Pennsylvania and knit together their executive suites to form a snack food powerhouse.
During the past five years, Snyder's-Lance logged its highest revenue in 2011 (the first full year it reported combined sales), thanks to the positive impact of the merger due to its incremental branded and non-branded revenue. The combined company's net sales decreased 1% in fiscal 2012 as compared to 2011, driven primarily by lower revenue per unit sold as a result of the IBO conversion and planned private brand volume declines. The company's net income saw a 54% boost during the same reporting period due in part to increased activity associated with the IBO conversion in 2012 as compared to 2011.
As part of the company's effort to merge the two businesses, Snyder's-Lance is paying particular attention to what it has deemed its core brands -- Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Lance sandwich crackers, and Cape Cod potato chips. It's fueling growth among these brands by developing them and expanding their distribution. Within Snyder's-Lance's allied brands, defined as branded products that are outside its core brands, the company's exploring pricing strategies, product packaging, and product configuration to improve profit margins. The snack foods maker also is looking for add-on acquisitions to boost its core products portfolio. It added the popular Pretzel Crisps brand to its pretzel portfolio and entered the deli-bakery section of grocery stores -- a retail area for snacks that's growing -- through its $340-million purchase of Snack Factory in October 2012.
Following the merger, Snyder's-Lance in early 2011 began to convert some 1,300 company-owned direct-store-delivery (DSD) routes to independent operators to improve its distribution network's ability to serve customers. (At the time of the merger announcement, Lance's DSD network was presented as a primary reason for Snyder's of Hanover's interest.) Snyder's-Lance is expanding its DSD network in the Southwestern US. Indeed, it entered into a distribution agreement with Inventure Foods in fall 2012 to expand its route distribution system in Arizona.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The Snyder's deal attested to Lance's long-standing business strategy of growth through acquisitions. The company made it first purchase as a joint entity in mid-2012. Snyder's-Lance acquired O'Byrne Distributing, a snack food distributor that serves the Augusta, Georgia, area. The deal marks the snack food company's continued push to expand and strengthen its national distribution network.
Previously, Lance's takeovers included the Stella D'Oro brand of packaged cookies, biscotti, and breadsticks, for which Lance paid $24 million. In 2008, Lance acquired the private-label gourmet cookie maker Brent & Sam's for $23 million, as well as name brand cookie maker, Archway, for $31 million.
Snack food is a highly competitive sector in food manufacturing; there are many players, from giants such as Frito-Lay (Lay's Potato Chips, Doritos, Cheetos, Cracker Jack) to little guys like pork rinds maker Rudolph Foods that carve out a spot in either a regional or product niche. Whether large or small, most snack food companies are bowing to customer demand to produce healthier products. The company has introduced 100-calorie snack packs and whole-grain snack crackers. (It had previously removed lard, trans-fats, and high-fructose corn syrup from its products.)
Chairman Michael Warehime and his wife -- director Patricia Warehime -- own about 16% of the company's shares.