The Success Factors Driving 7 of the Top Private Label Food Manufacturers

Private label market share is growing in the United States. In 2021, private label food brands’ food sales soared to almost $200 billion. Moreover, 89% of consumers believe that foods from private label food manufacturers are equal to or better than those from national manufacturers. Private label food manufacturers also offer cheaper prices and an increasing number of options that can help them outgrow traditional manufacturer brands by 2024. 

Projections of private label food and beverage growth through 2024

Image Courtesy of Pentallect

Additionally, supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic motivated consumers to purchase alternative food options offered by private-label foods. If you are looking for a new partner manufacturer, here are some of the top food manufacturers and some of the success factors they share. 

Key Takeaways

  • Treehouse Foods Inc has become a major industry leader in under 15 years. 
  • Despite being owned by an international conglomerate, Smithfield Foods is the largest provider of private label pork products in North America.
  • Private food label food manufacturers must use high-quality ingredients to cultivate consumer and retailer trust.
  • Private label food manufacturers can save retailers money by reducing their marketing expenses.

7 Top Private Label Food Manufacturers in the U.S. Today

Here are the seven private label food manufacturers in the U.S. that lead different food categories.

1. TreeHouse Foods (Various Categories)

TreeHouse Foods Inc. specializes as a private label food and beverage manufacturer. They are the world’s leader in various categories, including dressings, soft drink mixes, vegan creamers, hot cereal, and pickles. Additionally, the company ranks second in its sales of other condiment products like salsa and spreads. Founded in 2005, TreeHouse Foods has committed itself to a proactive approach, providing high-quality organic foods and transparent communication. 

The company has only 17 years in the industry but has grown its sales by nearly $3 billion since 2009, reporting earnings of just under $4.4 billion in 2021. The acquisitions of other sizeable private label food manufacturers are the driving force behind TreeHouse becoming an industry leader in so many food categories.

2. Dean’s Dairy

Dean’s Dairy is one of the largest private label food manufacturers. Globally, they lead the production and distribution of soy beverages and dairy products and control a large portion of the organic dairy market in the United States. Additionally, they produce frozen desserts, salad dressing, canned pickles, canned vegetables, and relishes. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dean Foods reported revenue north of $7 billion in 2021.

3. Smithfield Foods (Meat)

Though owned by a Chinese-based multinational food processing company, WH Group, Smithfield Foods processes and distributes its food in the United States. Founded in Virginia in 1936, Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and a private label meat manufacturing leader with revenue totaling $27 billion in 2021. Their strategy includes purchasing hog farms and contracting farms that had moved out of other industries to raise the animals for consumption. The company now houses over 15 different brands in the meat industry that sell pork products, chicken, and deli meats. 

4. Red Monkey Foods (Seasonings)

Red Monkey Foods provides a wide variety of organic spices and seasonings. They have been the leader in these categories since 2009, only seven years after being founded in Golden City, Missouri. The company works with a global network of suppliers to source the best quality products. Due to partnerships with direct farms and co-ops, the company only employs a little over 150 employees worldwide, with 40 million in revenue annually. 

5. Gilster-Mary Lee (Cereals)

Gilster-Mary Lee is headquartered in Chester, Illinois, and employs 3,000 workers in 13 manufacturing plants in three states, serving the retail and foodservice markets. They have been operating for over 100 years, allowing them to grow to the private label leader in cereal products and a manufacturer in over 500 different private label brands. The company reported earnings of $1 billion in 2021. 

6. Lassonde Pappas and Company (Juices)

Lassonde Pappas and Company is based in New Jersey and employs 600 employees across its locations. They have driven annual revenue close to 600 million by producing ready-to-drink fruit juices, vegetable juices, sauces, isotonic, lemonades, teas, etc. The company has five subsidiaries across the food and beverage industry and is a leader in each of its markets. 

7. Flagstone Foods (Dried Snacks)

Since its inception in 2010, Flagstone Foods has grown to employ 1,500 employees across multiple locations and has generated just over half a billion in total sales. The Minnesota-based company is a key player in the dried snack category that includes trail mixes and snack nuts, serving the private label retailers, nationally branded snack companies, and foodservice providers. 

Success Factors Top Private Label Food Manufacturers Share 

The top private label food manufacturers above were selected based on their market share. But that is not only the key factor to their success. Let’s discuss some of the factors that have allowed these top private label food manufacturers to rise to industry leaders in their respective food categories.   

High-Quality Branded Ingredients on Clean Labels

Clean labels are labels that feature fewer ingredients. These ingredients are easily recognizable with transparent origins. Many clean labels feature branded ingredients, typically categorized due to their effectiveness, safety, and purity compared to other ingredients of a similar nature.

Projected growth of clean label market through 2026

Image Courtesy of Research and Markets

FDA-Certified Facilities

Top label brands have the proper certification that ensures their manufacturing processes meet industry standards. These manufacturers have Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires GMP regulations to ensure the proper control and oversight of the manufacturing process. 

Proper Product Certifications 

Top private label food manufacturers also need to provide certain certifications for products. In today’s climate, consumers want to know in detail how their foods are produced and manufactured. Certification can include labels that categorize foods as Vegan Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, or USDA Organic.  

Competitive Pricing 

Third parties manufacture private-label goods that reduce production costs for retailers and translate to higher profit margins. Additionally, private label food manufacturers don’t have to adhere to manufacturer-advised pricing (MAP) that branded products must follow. This allows retailers to control their price setting and marketing expenditure, allowing your business to control price and discounts on the product. 

Also, many private label food products are fast-moving consumer goods. These types of products do not require high marketing expenses because they are commonly recognized food items essential to a nutritious diet as outlined by the USDA food pyramid. The following video can help you find private label food manufacturers you can trust.

Connect with Leading Private Label Food Manufacturers  

Although private food label manufacturers share some key success factors, each company may possess differing internal factors that contribute to its success. By attending SIAL America, you can meet with some of the industry leaders in private label food manufacturing to increase your knowledge about private label foods and determine which companies can best serve as your manufacturing partner. 

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