Newly Weds Foods, Inc.

4140 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60639

Telephone: (773) 489-7000
Toll Free: (800) 621-7521
Fax: (773) 489-2799
Web site:

Private Company
1932 as Newly Weds Baking Co.
Employees: 1,700
Sales: $400 million (2002 est.)
NAIC: 311940 Seasoning and Dressing Manufacturing

Newly Weds Foods, Inc., is a Chicago-based family-owned company with a global reach, making breadings, batters, seasonings, rubs, and marinades for the food processing and service industries, primarily servicing restaurant chains. Although generally taken for granted, food coatings play an important role in the food industry. Not only do glazes and rubs enhance flavors, they provide an appealing look to consumers. Moreover, they seal in moisture and help prevent dehydration, thus retarding freezer burn and the cost of wasted products. Batters help to offset the varying moisture levels and fat and protein content in meats, poultry, vegetables, and other organic products, as well as offset differences in processing machinery, water quality, line speed, and set-up time. Food manufacturers also gain a way to distinguish their products on the basis of taste, texture, and look. In addition, spice blends and seasoning are engineered to provide visual appeal, longer flavor retention, and cleaner flavor release. Newly Weds' formulated seasonings accommodate 46 world cuisines. In addition, Newly Weds product lines include cures, deli and sausage seasonings, function mustards, sauces, binders, browning agents, stuffing crumbs, dry soups, English muffins, and capsicums, including red peppers, chili powders, and paprika. Newly Weds Foods also offers customers a number of value-added services such as sensory evaluation, packaging development services, and consulting services on how to integrate new products, or changes to existing products, into a customer's processing operation. Furthermore, the company offers the services of a proprietary marketing tool, FlavorTrak, a database that profiles and tracks menu items from more than 500 restaurant chains. FlavorTrak helps customers keep track of market trends and is a useful tool for research and development purposes as well as sales and marketing. Newly Weds' 12 state-of-the-art plants are located in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Israel, New Zealand, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. The company also maintains eight regional laboratories in the United States and 18 sales offices and distribution centers throughout the world.

Origins Date to 1930s

Newly Weds Foods was founded in Chicago in 1932 as Newly Weds Baking Co. by Paul Angell, who was originally interested in developing new dessert ideas and created the first ice cream roll cake. Because it married sheet cake and ice cream, he called the specialty "Newly Weds," a name which he would apply to the company as well. For the first 20 years, Newly Weds' focus was on the cake roll business, but in the early 1950s Angell recognized the emerging importance of the frozen foods industry and the need for appropriate breadings and batters. Using bakery-based technology to produce breading and batter mixes, primarily used on seafood, Newly Weds began to serve this niche and by getting an early start became the leading producer of customized food coatings in the United States, a distinction the company would never relinquish. While the company continued to produce the sheet cake used in making Newly Weds ice cream roll well into the 1990s, the breadings and batter business rapidly eclipsed the dessert business. In 1958, Newly Weds began producing English muffins, an item it continues to sell.

The popularity of fried and breaded foods grew rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s. A major turning point in the history of the company took place in 1977 when it introduced the Japanese-style bread crumb to the United States. The "J-crumb" became Newly Weds' signature product. A 1984 Quick Frozen Foods ' article described it as "an elongated sliver with a light porous texture which produces a crispy yet tender bite." It was formulated for use in conventional, convection, or microwave ovens, and its color and texture could be altered "from pink to white to toasted, double-toasted or golden, in fine, medium or coarse granulations." J-crumbs offered other low-cost benefits as well. It was suitable for a wide range of products in a variety of applications, had a longer frying tolerance, and possessed excellent holding qualities under heat lamps. The J-crumb played a key role in Newly Weds expanding from seafood items to providing coatings suitable for veal, cheese, mushrooms, and cauliflower in addition to other vegetables and fruits.

Becoming a "Little Big Company" in the 1980s

By now headed by a second generation in Charles T. Angell, son of the founder, Newly Weds began expanding its geographic reach in 1979 when it established a United Kingdom operation by way of a joint venture with a British company to establish a European presence. An even more important change occurred a year later when Newly Weds opened a second production site in Watertown, Massachusetts, ushering in a decade of significant growth, much of it achieved through strategic acquisitions. "In Mr. Angell's words," wrote Laurie Gorton in a 1993 company profile for Baking & Snack, "during the 1980s, Newly Weds moved from being a big little company to being a little big company." The goal after that was to become "a big company, 'plain and simple.' " In 1983, the company moved into the markets of the Pacific Rim by establishing a presence in Australia through a joint venture with a local company. Newly Weds became involved in the formulated seasonings business through the 1988 acquisition of St. Louis-based Spicecraft Company, which manufactured and blended spices for food processors. A year later Newly Weds opened a batters and breadings processing plant in Springdale, Arkansas, encompassing 100,000 square feet. The $9 million plant was strategically located within the southeastern poultry processing industry. All the while, the original Chicago facility was expanded and upgraded to keep up with the rising demand for Newly Weds' products. The decade closed with the harvesting of the company's first capsicum crop.

Newly Weds continued to expand in the early 1990s. In 1991, it forged a partnership with RHM Ingredients, a British supplier of food ingredients. Together they established a joint venture, New Food Ingredients France, to supply food coatings and flavor systems to French food processors. A year later, Newly Weds looked north of the U.S. border, establishing an alliance with Toronto-based UFL Foods Inc., a food ingredients supplier that would become responsible for the sale of Newly Weds batter and breading sales in all of Canada, the company's largest export market, followed by Mexico and Central and South American countries. During this period, the company bought a building adjacent to its Chicago campus to house a new research and development unit, offices, and production lines for J-crumbs as well as a new "American bread crumb," or ABC-crumb. As a result of this and other additions, the Chicago site now covered 14 acres and housed 380,000-square-feet of operations. Newly Weds opened a fourth U.S. manufacturing facility in 1992, a $17 million, 135,000-square-foot plant located in Cleveland, Tennessee, built to accommodate the increasing demand for Newly Weds' products in the Southeast and able to produce more than 100 million pounds of crumbs each year. At this time, the Springdale facility was expanded by 50,000 square feet. In early 1993, Newly Weds once again grew externally, acquiring Gardner, Kansas-based Kate Industries from Con Agra, Inc. Generating about $10 million in annual sales, Kate manufactured multi-grain blends, a new product for Newly Weds, as well as batters and other mixes sold to food processors, snack food companies, and industrial bakers.

In addition to American-style bread crumbs, which gave coated foods a homemade look, new products developed by Newly Weds in the early 1990s included Barrier Dip 2000, a pre-frying dip system that significantly cut the amount of fat absorbed by a breaded product while improving freezer storage life, and Newly Crisp crumbs, which gave baked items the taste and texture of fried foods while cutting fat and eliminating the need for messy and demanding deep fryers. Most schools, for example, did not use fryers and were a prime market for the baking product. Consumer demand for less fat was also a key factor in Newly Weds' move into marinades and glazes, products intended to compensate for a projected reduction in the demand for battered and breaded products. However, the products quickly developed into a category of their own, appealing especially to consumers with nutritional concerns.

The company's expansion program continued in the mid-1990s. In 1995, Newly Weds moved into the markets of the Middle East by establishing a joint venture in Israel. A year later, Newly Weds was once again on the acquisition path, completing three significant purchases. It added Tacoma, Washington-based Specialty Foods Inc., a blender of ingredients primarily used in the seafood industry; Decatur, Alabama-based BMB Specialty Co., a manufacturer of batters, breadings, and food coatings; and F.W. Witt & Co., a Yorkville, Illinois, maker of dry and liquid seasoning blends for the sausage industry. Also during this period, Newly Weds developed its FlavorTrak menu trend tracking system, which debuted in 1996 and would be upgraded on an ongoing basis.

Newly Weds grew on a number of fronts in the final years of the 1990s. In 1998, it opened a new plant and research and development operation in Beijing, China. In that same year, it opened a Technical Services Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and acquired its Canadian partner, UFL Foods, the addition of which supplemented Newly Weds' capabilities in seasonings as well as packaging. In 1999, Newly Weds bolstered its Canadian business by acquiring Edmonton-based Norac Technologies, while adding rosemary-based antioxidants to Newly Weds' product mix. Also in 1999, the company completed an expansion and remodeling of the Yorkville plant it picked up in the F.W. Witt acquisition and bought Tri-State Specialties Inc., yet another seasonings firm. When the century came to a close, Newly Weds was generating annual sales in the $340 million range, according to published reports.

Company Perspectives:

Newly Weds Foods brings you a world class ingredient portfolio for virtually any application, from snacks to side dishes to entrees.

More Acquisitions and Expansion in the 2000s

A series of acquisitions were completed in the early 2000s. The Chicago Spice Co., an Illinois-based full service maker of blended seasonings, rubs, glazes, sauces, and marinades and provider of portion control packaging services was picked up in June 2000. In early 2001, Newly Weds acquired Flavorite Laboratories, a Memphis, Tennessee-based developer and supplier of customized seasonings for meat, poultry, side dishes, and snacks, as well as gravies, marinades, sauces, glazes, and soups. The addition of Flavorite's capabilities prompted Charles Angell to comment in a press statement that Newly Weds was "now a full service ingredient powerhouse for the product development community."

Far from complacent, Newly Weds continued to make strategic acquisitions. In 2002, it acquired long-time British partner RHM Ingredients, fortifying Newly Weds' position in the United Kingdom and Europe. Later in the year, Boston-based Dirigo Spice Corp. was purchased, supplementing the Watertown, Massachusetts, operation and the company's business in the Northeast. Dirigo produced seasonings and ingredients for meats, seafoods, baker and snack items, cheese and dip mixes, salad dressings, sauces, and soup mixes, as well as other specialty items.

Newly Weds further strengthened it business in continental Europe with the 2003 acquisition of Helmond, Holland-based HPI. Also in 2003, Newly Weds bought Chicago-based Heller Seasonings & Ingredients and its three production facilities located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Modesto, California; and Bedford Park, Illinois, where a full research and development unit was also housed. Heller provided seasonings and custom spices for use in meat processing, snack foods, prepared foods, side dishes, dressings, dip, soups, and sauces. Newly Weds also grew internally during the early 2000s. The Horn Lake, Tennessee, facility was expanded in 2001, then in 2004 a $10 million expansion was launched, resulting in a 260,000-square-foot plant, the largest the company owned, capable of manufacturing Newly Weds' complete line of spices, marinades, seasonings, and other food coatings. The commitment to the Memphis-area plant was indicative of its strategic location, an overnight point to Chicago, Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans.

Newly Weds had to contend with changing consumer tastes over the years. For example, the battered-and-breaded meat segment, essentially anything labeled "fried," experienced difficulty as consumers became more health conscious, especially due to the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins Diet. All food developers faced a major challenge on the horizon: the nutritional guidelines regarding trans fats scheduled to go into effect in January 2006. Regardless, Newly Weds' researchers continually looked for ways to address these and other concerns, developing new technologies to produce healthier, yet flavorful coating combinations. Advances in coatings also helped in the development of more appealing microwavable products that remained crispy after they came out of the oven. The three-prong goal of Newly Wed researchers was to create batters and breadings that allowed for quicker preparation, provided better quality, and, perhaps most important of all, tasted good.

Key Dates:

Newly Weds Baking Co. is founded as the maker of Newly Weds Ice Cream Roll.
The company begins supplying breadings and batters to the frozen food industry.
The company introduces the Japanese-style crumb to America.
A second manufacturing plant opens in Watertown, Massachusetts.
A formulated seasonings product line is added with the acquisition of Spicecraft Co.
A Springdale, Arkansas, plant opens.
A Cleveland, Tennessee, plant opens.
FlavorTrak database is unveiled.
A plant opens in Beijing, China.
Flavorite Laboratories is acquired.
Heller Seasonings & Ingredients is acquired.

Principal Competitors

International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.; Kerry Group plc; McCormick & Company, Inc.

Further Reading

Gorton, Laurie, "Baking Crumb ABCs," Baking & Snack , August 1, 1993.

"Japanese-Style Bread Crumbs Offer Help to Processor of Ethnic Specialties," Quick Frozen Foods , January 1984, p. 30.

Lofton, Dewanna, "Chicago-Based Food Company Eyes Horn Lake, Miss,-Based Seasoning-Product Firm," Commercial Appeal , September 7, 2000.

"Newly Weds Foods Has Seen the Future," Quick Frozen Foods International , October 1992, p. 141.

"No, We Don't Make Wedding Cakes . . . Yet!," Frozen & Chilled Foods , March-April 2005, p. S27.

Sheffield, Michael, "Newly Weds Foods Expanding Horn Lake Plant," Memphis Business Journal , May 28, 2004, p. 1.

White, Lisa, "The Cover Up," National Provisioner , April 2005.

—Ed Dinger

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