Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 16

Startups navigate new
COVID challenges
Brands that typically rely on in-store tastings are assessing new
strategies. Those who planned to expand distribution into new
channels or launch new products in stores are reevaluating their
options and leaning into online retail.
Beyond Better Foods, Inc., the New York-based maker of Bada
Bean Bada Boom snacks, is delaying its innovation plans in the
short term to ensure it has adequate inventory on hand, said
Michael Shoretz, founder and chief executive officer.
"We're trying to stay as nimble as possible and adjust forecasts
on a much more frequent basis as we adapt to this new reality," Mr.
Shoretz said. "We're listening closely and anticipating the needs of
our customers and retail partners."
Beyond Better Foods has expanded the assortment of products
it sells online. The company also pledged to donate half of the profits from its website to Feeding America's coronavirus (COVID-19)
Response Fund.
While many early-stage businesses are struggling to stay afloat,
brands that are positioned around health and wellness may have
an advantage, despite the financial repercussions created by the
pandemic. Cost-conscious consumers typically reduce restaurant
visits or purchases of durable goods, but many will pay more for a
better-for-you food or beverage product, said Wayne Wu, general
partner at VMG Partners, San Francisco.
"What we saw during the 2008 financial crisis ... for many, not
all, the premium of that better-for-you, clean label food or beverage or personal care item was still worth it to (consumers),"
Mr. Wu said. "Maybe they would change where they bought their
clothes or shoes, but they still continued to prioritize their own
well-being and health ... and I feel like that is going to happen
this time as well."
- Monica Watrous, Food Business News

2020 Sosland Purchasing
Seminar canceled
Reflecting the worsening of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and prospects for restrictions on travel and business/social
gatherings extending ever deeper into the year, the 2020 Sosland
Publishing Co. Purchasing Seminar has been canceled.
The event, attended annually by about 800 purchasing executives
and suppliers, was scheduled for May 31-June 2 in Kansas City.
"While the need to cancel was not a surprise given the worsening pandemic and the mounting need for social distancing,
the decision was still deeply disappointing to all of us at Sosland
Publishing," said Josh Sosland, president of Sosland Publishing Co.
and editor of Milling & Baking News.
The 2021 Purchasing Seminar will be held June 6-8 in Kansas City.

16 Baking & Snack May 2020 / www.bakingandsnack.com

The Bakery Cos. acquires
Steck Wholesale Foods
In a move that dovetails into its foodservice business and expands
its geographic reach, The Bakery Cos., Nashville, Tenn., announced
it acquired Steck Wholesale Foods of North Sioux City, SD.
Founded in 2004, Steck bakes and distributes English muffins
and biscuits.
The Bakery Cos., a manufacturer of fresh and frozen bread,
baked foods and dough products, is owned by Arbor Investments.
In October, the Chicago-based private equity firm announced the
recapitalization of The Bakery Cos. with Cordia Harrington, its
founder and chief executive officer.
"Steck is a hand-in-glove fit for The Bakery Cos.," Ms. Harrington
said. "Their focus on manufacturing for retail customers is complementary to our existing strength in foodservice, and the South
Dakota facility expands our geographic manufacturing footprint
into the upper Midwest."
Specifically, Ms. Harrington pointed out that The Bakery Cos. also
gains additional production lines within its core English muffin and
biscuit categories. She said the Steck purchase not only provides incremental capacity but also creates redundancy in The Bakery Cos.'
manufacturing capabilities at geographically dispersed facilities.
The team of industry veterans at Steck will operate the business
out of its existing manufacturing facility. Craig Stanley will be general manager of the organization with Doug Heck and Jim Calvert
continuing in their engineering and sales roles.

In Memoriam
Donald Welge, president of Gilster-Mary Lee
Corp., a major private label foods manufacturer
based in Chester, Ill., April 16 at Missouri Baptist
Medical Center in St. Louis. The cause of death
was COVID-19. He was 84 years old.
A US Army veteran, Mr. Welge graduated in
1957 from Louisiana State University with a bachWelge
elor's degree in agricultural economics. He joined Gilster that year
when the company was a flour milling business, Gilster Milling Co.
based in Steeleville, Ill. He was a great-nephew of the company's
founders, who had established the business in the 1890s.


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