Notting Foods Inc.—Background
Notting Foods Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1939 and is now the world’s largest
processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork. The company produces a wide variety of branded, processed food
products and is the recognised leader in almost every retail and food service market it serves. With revenues of
US$30 billion, Notting has 142 800 employees and more than 360 facilities and offices in 32 US states and 22
Notting Foods’ vision is to be ‘the world’s first choice for protein based foods while maximising shareholder value’.
‘Segment, concentrate and dominate’ has long been its approach to business. The ...view middle of the document...
‘For almost 70 years, Notting Foods has been focused on providing customers with the highest quality
product and the best possible value. We’re now the world’s leading producer of chicken, beef and pork, and that
success is the direct result of the commitment and determination of all of our team members’.
A brief history of Notting Foods Inc.
Growth of the chicken empire
The picture in 2006 was very different from 1935 when John Notting first drove to Chicago to deliver a load of chickens that he sold at a profit of US$236. He used the money to pay off his debts and buy another load of birds.
From these humble beginnings, a major food empire was born. Within a year, John Notting had extended his
deliveries to five other major US centres. In 1967, the corporation went public and the company was set up as
Notting Foods Inc.
Vertical integration happened as a matter of course; whenever supply chain problems threatened his business, John
Notting made an acquisition in that part of the supply chain to protect his business. As a result, Notting Foods
controlled each stage from the egg to the processing plant, which provided guarantee in terms of the quality and
supply of its chicken products. In addition, parent stock came from grandparent stock produced over many
generations by Cobb Vantress, its wholly owned subsidiary. Cobb Vantress was also the breeding stock supplier to
the Gropoultry Breeding joint venture in Australia (see the Chasseur Chickens Pty Ltd case study).
‘Expand or expire’—The acquisition strategy
Notting made its first significant acquisition in 1967, purchasing a competitor poultry company based in a different
US state. With an ‘expand or expire’ strategy, 19 other acquisitions were made between 1970 and 1993. In addition
to these core business acquisitions, Notting began to diversify into retail outlets, corn and flour tortilla products and
seafood products. In 1972, Notting opened retail outlets called ‘Chick Shacks’. By 1974, Notting Foods hit the
Fortune 1000 chart, reaching the 500 chart by 1981. Diversification continued in 1987 with the purchase of Mexican
Salsa in Arkansas. Before long, Notting was also the leading producer of corn and flour tortilla products in the
United States and in 1996 it entered the seafood business with the purchase of Polar Fisheries Inc. and Lobster
Bisque Seafood. Still on the acquisition trail, the company acquired Duck & Drake Products in 2001, an innovator in
culinary development and manufacture of refrigerated-fresh entrees and the United States’ third-largest producer of
refrigerated gourmet pasta and sauce products. Duck & Drake Products was then merged with long-time competitor
Wholesome Foods in 2002 and the business focus concentrated on its customers by developing business groups and
specific marketing groups such as retail, food service and international.
‘The world’s largest protein supplier’—the move into red meat
During celebrations of its 65th...