Flowers Foods was started in 1919 by brothers Joseph Hampton and William Howard Flowers. They originally named the business Flowers Baking Co. and set its main office in Thomasville, Georgia.
When the brothers’ bakery business became successful, they began shipping their products to other areas of the country. In 1937, the company started its long line of acquisitions by buying a bakery in Tallahassee, Florida.
In 1944, Flowers was among a few bakeries in the country to franchise the Sunbeam brand. In 1968, the company changed its name to Flowers Industries and started trading stocks over-the-counter. Not a year had passed before Flowers Industries became a listed company on the country’s Stock Exchange. In 1982, the company was listed in the NYSE under the symbol FLO.
In the mid-1990s, Flowers completed its acquisitions of Mrs. Smith’s Pies and Keebler Company. In 2001, the company sold Keebler to manufacturing giant Kellogg Company, giving Flowers a total of $1.24 billion for its shareholders. With its divestiture of Keebler, Flowers now only had Flowers and Mrs. Smith’s. In 2003, these two bakery chains were merged to become Flower Foods. In 2008, Flowers completed its acquisition of ButterKrust Bakery in Florida. It then went into a merger with Holsum Bakery in Phoenix, Arizona.
Flower Foods then sold its frozen dessert division (under the Mrs. Smith business) to Schwan Food Co. Despite its divestitures, the company still remained large because of all the acquisitions that it has made, numbering over 100 in total.
Currently, Flowers Foods is operating in two segments: warehouse delivery and DSD (direct-store-delivery). Its DSD division is focused on producing and selling bakery products to the country. Its warehouse delivery division is focused on producing snack cakes, frozen bread, buns, tortillas and rolls for its foodservice operator customers. In May of 2011, Flowers Foods went into a merger with Tasty Baking Co. Tasty is currently included in Flower Foods’ DSD division.
• Headquarters: Thomasville, Georgia
• Ownership Type: Public
• No. of Employees: 8,800 (April 2011)
• Geography: USA
• Demography: retail bakery products consumers, food service operators
Flowers®, Nature’s Own®, Nature’s Grain®, European Bakers®,Mrs. Freshley’s®, Mi Casa®, Juarez® Leo’s Foods and Tasty®