40 mills, 3 bakery mix centers, one bakery: Welcome to milling powerhouse Ardent Mills
Next we head to Ardent Mills - the new flour milling giant which combines the might of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling - which officially emerged on the scene on May 30, and will be based in Denver, CO.
But what will the deal mean for customers and suppliers?
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at our booth (check back next week for the video), CEO Dan Dye and COO and chief integration officer Bill Stoufer said that while both parties had strong R&D capabilities, bringing the two together would help customers find growth opportunities in a bakery market that was suffering in many areas.
And while packaged white bread sales are falling, there are lots of new opportunities in ancient grains, gluten-free, whole grains, and products with a better nutritional profile, they said.
Horizon Milling would contribute significant expertise and tools in risk management, enabling customers across the combined business to better manage pricing volatility; while ConAgra Mills brought strong consumer insight capabilities to the party, said Dye.
"By bringing our two organizations together we can do more things more effectively for our customers than we could do individually."
There would also be efficiency gains from moving to a single ERP system in the next 15 months, procurement savings, plus logistics/supply chain optimization, said Stoufer.
Just over 200 people expected to move to new Denver, CO, headquarters
While not everyone would be moving to the firm's new HQ in Denver, CO, most people from the ConAgra Mills HQ in Omaha and the Horizon HQ in Minneapolis were excited about the relocation, which would reinforce the notion both internally and externally that Ardent Mills was a new company, he added.
A little over 200 people will be moving to Denver in the next 12 months or so, he added, noting that senior execs in the company had spent the last three weeks meeting suppliers and customers to explain to them what was happening.