The Carriage House Companies gets a bit carried away when spreading the word about sauces and spreads. The company is one of the largest suppliers of store-brand grocery goods, including barbecue sauce, jams and jellies, peanut butter, and table syrup. It also produces private label mayonnaise and salad dressings, salsas, and sauces. Carriage House products are sold through its sales staff and a broker network to retailers, such as Wal-Mart, and, less so, foodservice, contract, and other customers. A subsidiary, Beverage Specialties makes the Major Peter's and JERO brand non-alcoholic drink mixes. Carriage House is owned by Ralcorp, which counts the subsidiary as part of its Snacks, Sauces & Spreads business.
Ralcorp's sauces and spreads business operations consist of four plants located in the US. Carriage House products are made to order as the lineup comprises multiple flavor and size variations for each type of product. Products are shipped via independent truck lines directly to customers predominantly doing business in the US. Warehouses also neighbor the plants, enabling Carriage House to hold heavily order products for a number of weeks for rapid subsequent fulfillment.
In fiscal 2011 (ends September) the Snacks, Sauces & Spreads accounted for one-third of Ralcorp's sales, of which sauces and spreads generated more than 30%. Despite a double-digit surge in sales, operating profit for the Snacks, Sauces & Spreads business slid more than 10% in 2011 from 2010. Results reflected a positive mix of products coupled with increased selling prices aimed to offset higher costs for commodities, including peanuts and oils, and freight. Among the categories covered by Carriage House, salad dressing and salsa performed well against declining demand for syrups and preserves and jellies.
Carriage House's strategically looks to build sales of new and established products by expanding distribution to potential customers along with cutting costs to help drive a turnaround Ralcorp. To that end, in August 2012 Ralcorp announced it will pool its businesses (cereal, pasta, snacks, as well as sauces) as part of improving efficiency and cost savings. It further expects that consolidation will provide a stronger position from which to take the lead in 20 food categories. The restructuring, which will incur between $17 million and $22 million in employee termination and other expenses, is anticipated to complete in 2014.
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