Snyder's of Hanover plays its own version of Twister ... and it wins. The company is the largest pretzel maker in the US (surpassing even snack-making behemoth Frito-Lay). Along with pretzels of all shapes and sizes, Snyder's produces potato chips, tortilla chips, and the EatSmart brand of low-fat snack foods, as well as organic snacking options. Taking advantage of US consumers' love of dark chocolate, the company partners with Hershey to make dark-chocolate-covered pretzels called Dips. Snyder's snacks are sold through supermarkets, drugstores, and mass merchandisers throughout the US. In late 2010 Snyder's merged with Southern snack food giant Lance, which was renamed Snyder's-Lance.
The stock-for-stock agreement made Snyder's a wholly owned subsidiary and expanded its new parent's portfolio, which already included about a dozen owned brands (such as Lance, Tom's, Cape Cod, and Archway) and a collection of popular licensed names (think Bugles). The deal also created one of the largest Direct Store Delivery (DSD) networks in the US. As part of the transaction, Snyder's-Lance maintains two corporate offices -- one in North Carolina and one in Pennsylvania -- as well as retains several top executives from each of the snack food makers.
During 2012 Snyder's-Lance plans to complete its integration of the Snyder's business. As part of its effort, the parent company is fueling growth for its core brands -- Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Lance sandwich crackers, and Cape Cod potato chips -- through product development and distribution expansion. To better serve customers through its vast DSD network, Snyder's-Lance has been converting some 1,300 company-owned routes to independent operators since early 2011.
Prior to putting its head together with Lance, the folks at Snyder's had been busy in product development. (It's likely that Snyder's efforts in dreaming up healthier items were an incentive for Lance, which has likewise focused on more nutritious offerings.) The company offers the MultiGrain line of snacks, which includes tortilla chips and strips, sunflower chips, pretzels, and cheese puffs and crunchies. It also makes 100-calorie snack packs, as well as gluten-free products. Snyder's added pretzel crackers -- thin disks that are brown and salted on both sides. Looking to attract foodservice customers, the company has devised other new products, such as "pretzel shots" -- small pretzel containers designed to hold fillings and dips and used as hors d'oeuvres.
Prior to being approached by Lance, Snyder's made an unsuccessful bid to acquire Utz Quality Foods in 2009. The deal was called off with both companies stating that since the takeover had not been cleared by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), they decided to cancel the deal altogether. Both companies said they preferred to get on with their businesses and not partake in time-consuming negotiations with the government, which they noted would have been detrimental to their companies.
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Snyder's was founded in 1909 by Harry V. Warehime, who started the business using just one pretzel recipe, one flavor, and one shape.