THOMASVILLE, GA. — Flowers Foods, Inc. on Feb. 25 announced it has acquired the Roman Meal trademark for bread and buns in the United States and its territories, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas from Roman Meal Co. in Tacoma, Wash. Financial terms of the transaction were not announced.
A 103-year-old brand specializing in whole grain products, the Roman Meal trademark for many years has been licensed to Flowers and other baking companies, including Bimbo Bakeries USA; H&S Bakery, Inc.; Schwebel Baking Co.; Lewis Bakeries Inc.; and Love’s Bakery. Roman Meal products include bread, rolls, buns, English muffins and brown ‘n serve rolls. Hot cereal also is offered under the Roman Meal brand.
Flowers estimated Roman Meal’s annual U.S. retail sales at $26 million. A leader in whole grain bread sales for decades, growth of Roman Meal has been challenged more recently as whole wheat bread has grown in popularity and many baking companies have produced and marketed their own branded whole wheat bread.
Flowers has been a licensed baker of Roman Meal for 40 years and said the acquisition will have no impact on current licensing agreements in the continental United States. Flowers will be the administrator of those agreements going forward. The Roman Meal Co. will license the brand from Flowers Foods in Hawaii and Guam and will retain ownership of the brand in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
Established in Tacoma, Wash., in 1912 by Robert Jackson, a physician, the Roman Meal Co. initially was a whole grain hot cereal maker. The business was acquired in 1927 by William Matthaei, a Tacoma baker who then began offering bread under the Roman Meal brand. The Matthaei family’s involvement in the company has extended for four generations. Charles W.T. Matthaei, the company’s longtime chairman, died a year ago today, on Feb. 26, 2014, at the age of 93.A flour mill in Fargo, N.D., owned by the company was spun off in the 1990s as an independent business and operates under the name Dakota Specialty Milling.