Lance, a manufacturer of sandwich crackers, potato chips and cookies, has a history that dates back to 1913. Just a few years before that in 1909, the origins of Snyder’s of Hanover got under way, establishing a foundation for a company that now produces pretzels and a diverse line of snacks for domestic and international markets. Now, working together as one company, Snyder’s-Lance is using its expertise and strengths in the snack market to compete more effectively and add value to the combined operation. This merger is a win for the company’s customers, consumers, partners and associates.
The merger of the two companies was completed in December 2010, establishing a combined portfolio of snack food brands that includes Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Cape Cod, Grande, Tom’s, Jays, O-Ke-Doke, Stella D’oro, Krunchers!, Archway, EatSmart Naturals and Lance private brands. The products of Snyder’s-Lance include pretzels, sandwich crackers, kettle chips, potato chips, cookies, tortilla chips, nuts and more, and the combined operation has 10 production facilities in the United States and two in Canada.
“This historic transaction brings together many years of excellence in salty snacks and baking that will create a dynamic and competitive organization able to deliver superior customer service while continuing to be an important part of the communities in which we operate,” says Carl E. Lee Jr., president and COO of the combined company. “We expect to drive our business through the strength of nationwide distribution, national advertising and an excellent portfolio of products and capabilities that consumers prefer. We look forward to our collective success and the exciting times that are to come.”
In integrating the two companies, one of the first goals of Snyder’s-Lance is to establish an efficient sales distribution system. The company has nearly 3,000 Direct Store Delivery (DSD) routes nationwide, made up of a combination of company owned routes and independent operators (IO). In the coming months, Snyder’s-Lance will convert its company-owned routes to the independent operator structure. Working market by market, the company will expand its integrated coast-to-coast distribution network that is best positioned to serve customers. This transition will provide improved returns and better opportunities for independent business owners.
Snyder’s-Lance believes the IO structure will drive better returns than the company-owned DSD system, and will strengthen its relationships with customers, which will lead to accelerated growth. The company expects to complete this transition process by mid-2012.
“We are confident we will engineer a very successful transition over the next 12 to 18 months based on the success we have had over the past several years with similar conversions,” Lee says. “While this is a significant conversion, it has been well received by our route employees and we expect that it will be positive for our customers as well. The new system is expected to support even better service levels for customers and provide greater opportunities for the independent route operators through larger drop sizes given the combined volume resulting from the merger.”
Prior to their merger, Snyder’s of Hanover and Lance were both known for driving category growth through innovation since their origins and expect even greater opportunities for the future; Lance provided the first peanut butter sandwich cracker, for example, and Snyder’s was the first company to put potato chips in foil bags. Additional innovative products include the Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzel Sandwiches and Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks, the Lance Premium Cracker Creations and the Archway Fruit Filled cookies. Both companies have brought numerous product innovations to market throughout their individual histories, but together, Snyder’s-Lance is breaking new ground in the snack industry in terms of its sustainable production efforts.
In 2009, Snyder’s of Hanover set a goal to reduce its energy and natural gas usage and greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent each in the next five years, as well as reduce its solid waste by 30 percent in the same period.
Some of the company’s other sustainable activities involve using water-based ink on all of its product bags; recycling card board, salt and wood pallets; and developing renewable and compostable packaging. Additionally, Snyder’s-Lance made a major step forward in its sustainability efforts when it opened the largest ground-based solar farm in Pennsylvania in June.
Covering 26 acres and comprised of 15,092 solar panels, the 3.5-megawatt solar farm is located adjacent to the company’s manufacturing plant in Hanover, Pa. Snyder’s-Lance estimates the solar farm will generate 4.27 million-kilowatt hours each year and save nearly 30 percent of the current energy costs for the Hanover facility. The solar farm is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 230 million pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period.
“This is a very exciting time in the history of our company,” Lee says. “The solar farm shows the commitment that Snyder’s-Lance has made to creating snack products in a more sustainable way. Our goal has always been to make ‘better for you’ snacks, and now they are also better for the earth, as well.”
‘Innovation and Excitement’
Snyder’s-Lance is putting a lot of effort into integrating the two companies into one, but these activities are not slowing the introduction of new products. In May, for example, the company launched Lance Cracker Creations, which is a premium seasoned sandwich cracker with vegetables, cheese or herbs baked into the cracker. The all-natural line of sandwich crackers have five grams of whole grain per serving and a real cream cheese filling, and are available in Garden Vegetable and Parmesan Herb varieties.
Its gluten-free pretzel sticks also have been “a huge success” for the company, according to spokeswoman Andrea Bartman. Snyder’s-Lance worked with the Gluten Free Certification Organization for more than a year to certify the product, and its Hanover, Pa., baking facility is certified for gluten sanitation. This product has been such a hit with those eating gluten-free and consumers who are trying to eat healthier that Snyder’s-Lance hopes to expand its gluten-free line.
“We are always looking for new, fresh ideas,” she says. “Innovation and excitement are two of our core principles, and staying new, exciting and fresh is important to our longevity. We want our products to meet as many consumers’ needs as possible, and our gluten-free line is a great example of that.”
Snyder’s-Lance plans to continue its history of bringing innovative and tasty snacks to consumers while expanding its market reach. The company’s products reach about 40 countries, but it has plans to expand into new locations and further into its current markets.
“We’re really looking forward to showcasing the strength of our brands and our associates. Together, we can reach greater heights and achieve beyond our expectations,” said David V. Singer, CEO of Snyder’s-Lance.