Editor's Plate

The Wealth of Information That is the Food Processing Top 100©

Why our Top 100 report (especially online) is so special … and useful.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Our August issue carries our 44th annual Top 100© list, the biggest (by sales) food and beverage manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. This report is a monumental undertaking for us and the figures are unique to Food Processing, so I hope you will take a look at the story and especially eyeball the table. For that matter, why not download a copy of it for yourself and pin it to your wall so you know all year who are the other players in this business.

Why is this so special? Two reasons.

The Top 100 is a ranking based on these companies as manufacturers, not marketers or brand managers. We count only value-added/consumer-ready (but not necessarily branded or in final form) foods and beverages that were manufactured in U.S. and Canadian plants. We try to subtract the Keurig coffee machines and the Cargill ocean-going vessels, as well as all the General Mills factories in other parts of the world.

Even discounting PepsiCo’s foreign plants, the American beverage and snack company again sits at No. 1 on our chart, although Tyson made quite a run at the top spot with its recent acquisitions and organic sales growth.

It’s tough enough to distill the sales we count for the public companies; for the private companies, we rely on their statements to us and other public reports about their finances or the general health of their business. To those of you who willingly part with private-company information and the unique numbers we look for, thank you!

Beyond the ranking and data, the Top 100 also is a pulse-check of the health of the food and beverage industry. You'll see whose sales and/or profits are soaring – in most cases we tell why – and who's retrenching. The new CEOs at Campbell Soup, TreeHouse Foods and Hain Celestial are realizing it may be easier and more profitable to manage a smaller, focused company than a sprawling, diverse one. Conagra's sales certainly took a jump – but was it worth the $10.9 billion it cost to buy Pinnacle Foods? Foreign companies like Ferrero, Lindt & Sprungli and Bonduelle are now major players in North America. Such are the comings and goings chronicled by this report.

The other reason this project is so special is not apparent in the magazine, but more so online. For every company name and sales figure you see in our cover story, we also record on our website a wealth of data about each processor. We have a truly remarkable tools both in our interactive chart, our downloadable charts (available in both both PDF and a sortable Excel file), as well as in our library of Top 100 coverage, dating back to 2005.

At first glance, you’ll see the same table that’s in our magazine, but all the vertical columns are sortable. Click Company Name to make the list alphabetic. Or sort it by Total Company Sales (where Cargill is No. 1) or by Net Income if you want to see who’s most profitable.

Even better: Click on a company name and you get each company’s profile – which includes headquarters address, top executives, subsidiaries, food categories, even brands. PepsiCo alone has 75 brands! Multiply that by 100 companies and you’ll appreciate the work we put into this.

So indulge me. Give our cover story a read now and check out all of our Top 100 links. Click just one of them and I bet you’ll want to bookmark this.