TreeHouse Foods was the only pure food company presenting during the third day of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York meeting. Steve Oakland, who has been president/CEO for three years now – and only the second CEO in the company's 15-year history – talked of his continuing fine-tuning of North America's largest private label company.
Ironically, the biggest news of the past year was the acquisition of the branded pasta lines of Riviana Foods, the company's first purchase in three years. Most of the news of the past two years has involved divestitures, and TreeHouse shunned brands under former Chairman/CEO and founder Sam Reed.
But Oakland said the Riviana purchase was opportunistic, deepens TreeHouse's penetration in the category and enables the company to be a single source of pasta, both branded and private label, for its grocery customers.
The company had sales of just over $6.1 billion in 2016, but closed the 2020 books with revenues of $4.35 billion – which was up 1.4%. Gone are snack nuts and two in-store bakery suppliers; a planned sale of its cereal business to Post was nixed by the Federal Trade Commission early last year. But also gone is the 2019 net loss of $361 million in 2019, replaced by a $14 million profit last year. The company decreased its debt load, as well.
While divestitures will continue, Oakland says acquisitions are now possible.