Crain’s Chicago Business Largest Private Companies 2014: Hearthside Food Solutions

April 22. 2014 – Chicago IL – Crain’s Chicago Business, famous for the “LISTS” it publishes each year, is out with their 2014 “Chicago’s Largest Private Companies” list. Hearthside Food Solutions again is on the list, ranking #36, climbing 12 positions since last year’s list. This is the third year Hearthside has been on this Crain’s list. For more information, visit Crain’s Chicago Business here.


Hearthside Food Solutions new Equity Partners

Hearthside Food Solutions today announces that their long time equity partner, Wind Point Partners has entered into an agreement to sell their interest in Hearthside Food Solutions to Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners. Expected to be completed in approximately 45 days, this change is a positive one for Hearthside, for our employees and our customers. The move will enable Hearthside to continue to grow, adding more value in the food contract manufacturing market it serves. Here is the official release.

Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners in Partnership to Acquire Hearthside Food Solutions

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Hearthside Food Solutions, the largest independent bakery and contract food manufacturer in North America, from Wind Point Partners. Terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. Goldman Sachs and Vestar will own equal stakes in the company going forward.

“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Hearthside and partner with its first class management team and employees.”

Hearthside Food Solutions is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing independent bakery and a full-service contract manufacturer of high quality, grain-based food and snack products for many of the world’s leading premier brands. Hearthside offers a diverse product portfolio focused on four main platform categories – bars, cookies/crackers, granola/cereals, and snacks. The company manufactures more than 150 brands and 1,400 SKUs for its top customers.

“When we launched Hearthside in 2009, we envisioned a company that could transform the contract manufacturing industry,” said Rich Scalise, chairman and chief executive officer of Hearthside. “We have achieved that goal, building an industry leader and a highly successful business in the last five years based on the principles of being fast, flexible and adding more value. Going forward, by leveraging the experience and relationships of both Goldman and Vestar, we are confident we can take the company to the next level of growth in the contract manufacturing industry. We look forward to working with our new partners.”

“Hearthside is a leader in the co-manufacturing industry and management has done an excellent job accelerating its growth trajectory,” said Nicole Agnew, a managing director in the Merchant Banking Division at Goldman Sachs. “We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Hearthside and partner with its first class management team and employees.”

“Hearthside is not only one of the largest co-manufacturers in the food industry, but also the leader in quality, safety, and innovation. They respond rapidly to industry trends and shifting consumer preferences,” said Dan O’Connell, CEO of Vestar. “Now more than ever, food companies turn to co-manufacturers like Hearthside to help them initiate and accelerate the commercialization process and for timely response to changing consumer preferences. We are excited to work with Rich and his talented team to take advantage of these positive long-term trends and grow the business.”

Affiliates of Barclays Capital and Goldman Sachs provided commitments for the debt financing for the transaction. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as the legal advisor to Goldman Sachs and Vestar in this transaction.

About Hearthside Food Solutions
Hearthside Food Solutions, headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, is the nation’s largest independent bakery and a full-service contract manufacturer of high quality, grain-based food and snack products for some of the world’s leading premier brands. Hearthside operates 20 food-manufacturing facilities in eight states. For more information on Hearthside Food Solutions, visit

About Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.

About Vestar Capital Partners
Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners in a creative, flexible and entrepreneurial way to build long-term enterprise value.

Vestar has a successful track record in the food industry, with past investments in companies including Celestial Seasonings, Michael Foods and Birds Eye. Currently, Vestar’s portfolio includes Del Monte – now Big Heart Pet Brands, the largest pet snack company in U.S. – and specialty foods leader Roland Foods.

Vestar is targeting equity investments in the range of $50 million to $150 million in U.S.-based middle-market companies with enterprise values ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. Vestar has extensive experience investing across a wide variety of industries including Consumer, Healthcare, Digital Media, Information Services, Diversified Industries, and Financial Services. Since Vestar’s founding in 1988, Vestar funds have completed more than 70 investments in companies with a total value of more than $40 billion. For more information, please visit

ABA Nominates Rich Scalise, Incoming Chairman


(The American Bakers Association is the voice of the baking industry.
Established in 1897, the ABA seeks to grow and enhance the baking industry
through public policy advocacy, education and networking opportunities)

As reported in

WASHINGTON — A new slate of officers has been proposed for the American Bakers Association’s board of directors for 2014-16. The proposed officers will be considered at the 2014 A.B.A. convention set for March 16 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Rich Scalise, chief executive officer of Hearthside Food Solutions, is set to succeed Howard R. “Robin” Alton III, president and c.e.o. of Pan-O-Gold Baking Co., as chairman of the A.B.A. [Read more…]

Hearthside: Most Innovative Manufacturers #4


Downers Grove IL – January 17, 2014 – Today Manufacturing.NET released their official “15 Most Innovative Companies for 2013”. Hearthside Food Solutions ranked #4 on this prestigious roster. Not limited to food companies, the top 15 included a wide range of manufacturing firms, including Toshiba which ranked #5 on the list. [Read more…]

Hearthside: Doing it the Right Way

HearthsideLedeStory “Doing it the Right Way” from September 2013 Baking & Snack by Dan Malovany.

“When we take a step back and look at the past four years, it’s hard not to say, ‘Holy cow. No wonder I’m tired,’ ” said Brian McNamara, vice-president of sales and marketing, Hearthside Food Solutions, Downers Grove, IL.

In 2009, Hearthside Food Solutions began a series of acquisitions that has made it one of the nation’s largest co­manufacturers of snacks and baked goods. With the backing of Wind Point Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm, the then newly created company acquired a substantial portion of the assets from Roskam Baking Co., based in Grand Rapids, MI.

Then in May 2010, in a swift, bold move, Hearthside purchased Consolidated Biscuit Co., based in McComb, OH, as well as the cereal division of Golden Temple, Eugene, OR. In 2011, it acquired another Roskam Baking facility in Grand Rapids that produced granola.

Hearthside’s latest milestone — one that propelled its annual sales north of $1 billion — came this spring with the merger of Ryt-way Industries, a Lakeville, MN, provider of contract manufacturing services and packaging equipment; it was also a part of Wind Point Partners’ portfolio of companies. Hearthside also sold off its Golden Temple division to Post Holdings for $158 million and used the profit to fund the Hearthside/Ryt-way merger.

To Rich Scalise, Hearthside’s  chairman and CEO, the merger of the ­complementary businesses makes perfect sense. Hearthside produces an array of snacks, cereal and baked goods, including cookies, crackers, croutons, stuffing, pretzels, rye bagel chips, popcorn, snack mixes, bread sticks, toaster pastries, muffins and more, and in a big way. The company, for instance, cranks out more than 3 billion cold-pressed and baked bars on an annual basis.

Ryt-way specializes primarily in co-packaging of dry foods. It also produces packaging equipment under the Cloud Equipment brand. Its expertise on the back end of the production line can open new opportunities for both businesses. Together, the combined company has 20 manufacturing facilities and 7,500 employees in seven states.

“As we look at our customer base and growth, packaging is playing a bigger and bigger role on the consumer side,” explained Mr. Scalise, a 35-year veteran of the food industry. “Day-part snacking is huge. There’s snacking at breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of a sudden, you’re seeing a proliferation of new products, packaging sizes and different shapes.”

While the increase of 100-Cal packs has softened, the demand continues to multiply for even smaller airline-pack snacks, individually wrapped bars and sandwich crackers in cups as well as to variety packs, club store bags and family-sized boxes of cookies. “Customized packaging is one of our solutions,” Mr. McNamara said. “With Ryt-way, we’re able to do it in a much more ­powerful way.”

In the co-manufacturing world, the ability to survive — and even thrive — relies on how a company adjusts to constantly shifting trends while maintaining the ability to be fast and flexible yet drive value, according to Mr. Scalise.

“In order to win, we have to be faster at what we do,” he observed. “We have to be flexible, and we have to add additional value. And value is not just about price. It’s about the whole equation of quality, service and ­employee engagement.”

Redefining speed to market: Combining Hearthside and Ryt-way isn’t an idea that came out of the blue. Throughout the past few years as a part of Wind Point’s portfolio, the two companies’ management teams exchanged information about the challenges and opportunities they faced in their respective industries, and there was a growing realization that it might be a good idea to combine their businesses someday.

In several cases, they served the same customers, which make up a “who’s who” of multinational corporations that market many of the top-selling household brands in the snack, baking, food and retail industries. In other cases, the combined customer base provides potential new business for both Hearthside and Ryt-way.

“When we looked at our customers and how we do business, it just made sense,” Mr. Scalise said. “This is a perfect complement not only for the baking and ­snacking sides of our business, but there is also a bigger opportunity to serve our customer base. And there’s a whole other set of customers who are packaging products who we can service with other products that we can do.”

Moreover, Hearthside and its customers are redefining the role of the traditional contract manufacturer, according to Mr. Scalise. “When we started, we were great commercialization experts,” he said. “Our customers came to us with their base formulas, and we helped commercialize them through our production and packaging capabilities. Today, we are starting to evolve, and our customers are evolving, too.”

Instead of being considered part of the procurement process, Hearthside now strives to be acknowledged as part of a customer’s supply chain. It didn’t happen overnight. “It’s been very gradual, but it’s been a dramatic change from just four years ago,” Mr. Scalise said. “The great branded companies are going to market more quickly, but they need our help, so they’re going outside of their organization and reaching out to us.”