KANSAS CITY — A review of the year’s most-read stories on bakingbusiness.com shows interest in acquisitions and mergers, as well as moves made by milling and baking companies to expand their presence in the United States.

Readers showed particular interest in coverage of Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. The Mexico City-based company was active on the acquisition front with the purchase of Canada Bread and Saputo Bakery, and also made headlines early in the year when it announced plans for capacity rationalization. The year also included the creation of Ardent Mills, the largest flour milling company in the United States.

Here were the top 10 stories on bakingbusiness.com in 2014.

Cloverhill Bakery makes such snack cakes as Big Texas cinnamon rolls.

10. Aryzta adds to North American baking portfolio

The Swiss company in March unveiled plans to ramp up its presence in North America with the announcement it had agreed to acquire Canada-based Pineridge Bakery and U.S.-based Cloverhill Bakery for total consideration of approximately €730 million ($1,013 million). Aryzta said it plans to invest an additional €70 million in the companies to support a strong growth pipeline and integration. Read the full story.

 

Hearthside Food Solutions manufactures grain-based food and snack products for leading brands.

9. Goldman Sachs, Vestar to acquire Hearthside Food

Based in Downers Grove, Ill., Hearthside Food Solutions is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing independent bakery and a full-service contract manufacturer of grain-based food and snack products for many of the world’s leading brands. Read the full story.

 

Saputo Bakery manufactures snack cakes in Canada under Vachon, Jos Louis, Ah Caramel, Passion Flakie and May West brands.

8. Grupo Bimbo to acquire Saputo Bakery

The acquisition of the snack cake maker is expected to position Bimbo’s Canada Bread subsidiary for further growth in Canada, complementing its current product portfolio, distribution network and manufacturing facilities. Read full story.

 

Dave's Killer Bread is made with organic and non-bioengineered ingredients.

7. Dave’s Killer Bread going national

The maker of U.S.D.A. organic and Non-GMO Project Verified bread unveiled plans to distribute its bread products across the United States, up from the 25 states it currently serves. Read full story.

 

Canada Bread manufactures sliced bread, buns, bagels, English muffins, tortillas, frozen bread and specialty braked goods.

6. Grupo Bimbo to buy Canada Bread

Grupo Bimbo, S.A.B. de C.V. agreed to acquire all of the common shares of Canada Bread Company, Ltd. for C$72 ($65) per share, or approximately C$1,830 million ($1,663 million). Canada Bread is one of the leading manufacturers and marketers of bakery products, including sliced bread, buns, bagels, English muffins and tortillas in Canada, frozen bread in North America, and specialty bakery goods in the United Kingdom. The acquisition closed in late May. Read full story.

 

Daniel Servitje, chairman and chief executive officer of Grupo Bimbo, discussed surprising shifts in the marketplace.

5. Bimbo execs cite surprising bread market dynamics

While prepared for a more competitive environment with the return to the marketplace of bread and cake brands formerly owned by Hostess Brands, Inc., executives of Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. said market dynamics have shifted in ways not entirely expected. Read full story.

 

The plants were acquired in 2013 as part of the $410 million purchase by HB Holdings L.L.C.

4. Workers vote to unionize at three Hostess cake plants

Workers at three of the four snack cake plants operated by Hostess Brands L.L.C. in July voted to unionize, according to the union representing the bakery workers. The three plants are located in Indianapolis; Schiller Park, Ill.; and Columbus, Ga. Read full story.

 

Miller Milling expanded with four flour mills in the United States this year.

3. Nisshin acquires four ConAgra/Horizon flour mills

Miller Milling Co., the U.S. subsidiary of Nisshin Flour Milling Inc., reached agreement to acquire four U.S. flour mills. Included in the asset purchase agreement were the Los Angeles flour mill of Horizon Milling L.L.C. and the Oakland, Calif.; Saginaw, Texas; and New Prague, Minn., mills of ConAgra Mills. The transaction combining the flour milling assets of Cargill, ConAgra Mills and CHS, Inc. was completed in late May, creating Ardent Mills, the largest flour milling company in the United States. The joint venture will operate 40 flour mills, three bakery mix facilities and a specialty bakery. Read full story.

 

Having closed or announced the pending closing of five U.S. baking plants in the six months, executives discussed plans for additional capacity rationalization.

2. Bimbo sees more plant closings in 2014 and beyond

Executives of Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. in mid-February warned of additional capacity rationalization in the year ahead. Read full story.

 

Miniature treats are on-trend.

1. Dessert trends 2014: Sweet, single and ready to please

Out-of-home dessert consumption is on the rise as consumers expand their definition to include more nontraditional items and day parts. Miniature treats that may be customized to meet an individual’s flavor preferences and finger-food sweets for sharing are among top trends. Read full story.