Yoki integration proceeding smoothly
by Eric Schroeder
BOSTON — Although it has only been in the fold for a little more than a month, Yoki Alimentos is generating excitement at General Mills, Inc., said Don Mulligan, executive vice-president and chief financial officer, as part of a Sept. 6 presentation at the Barclays Back to School Conference in Boston.
Acquired on Aug. 1, Yoki Alimentos generates about $500 million in annual sales through its portfolio of snacks, convenience sides, desserts, seasonings, flours and grains. Most importantly, the company gives General Mills a foothold in the emerging market of Brazil.
“Yoki gives us a solid infrastructure in Brazil,” Mr. Mulligan said. “The company has built a network of geographically dispersed manufacturing locations and distribution centers to give us a cost-effective nationwide supply chain. Yoki gives us selling infrastructure, too. The company has more than 1,000 direct sales employees who provide in-store presence and merchandising capabilities through multiple channels across Brazil. This sales force will help us grow our existing product line and expand into additional categories in the future.
“Yoki competes in large, rapidly growing categories that are very on trend with the Brazilian consumers.”
Popcorn is Yoki’s largest snack business, which fits well with General Mills’ position as a leader in both stovetop and microwave segments, Mr. Mulligan said.
“Household penetration in Brazil for microwaves is still under 40% and growing at an attractive rate,” he said. “We know the popcorn business well. We helped create the microwave popcorn segment here in the U.S. with Pop Secret, so we are very excited about this product line in Brazil.”
Another area of excitement is in seasonings and basic flours and grains.
“These categories are found in a high percentage of Brazilian households and are used as key ingredients in preparing meals at home,” Mr. Mulligan said. “Yoki sales of these products are growing at a double-digit rate.”
Yoki’s newest product category is beverages, where the company is the second-largest fruit and soy beverage manufacturer in Brazil.
“Our integration efforts are off to a great start,” Mr. Mulligan said. “Given Yoki’s terrific breadth and scale, we are integrating General Mills Brazilian products and systems into the Yoki business. We are just one month in and we are already invoicing our customers as a combined company. As we integrate, maintaining Yoki’s great business momentum is our top priority.
“The combination of Yoki and General Mills makes us the 15th largest food company in Brazil, significantly expanding our scale in this important market.”