Great positives in changing milling industry landscape

by L. Joshua Sosland
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Even if change brings uncertainty, there is good reason for bakers to be reassured by a sudden surge of merger and acquisition interest in U.S. flour milling. After a pause of longer than a decade in any major flour milling transactions, the current issue of Milling & Baking News reports one company entering the U.S. milling industry for the first time and a second expressing interest in finding an entree into the industry.

For bakers and millers, there is good reason to be cheered by the players involved — Nisshin Flour Milling, which acquired Miller Milling, and Bunge Ltd., which voiced a desire to be a U.S. flour miller. Why should the industry be encouraged?

First, neither company is naively optimistic about prospects for organic growth in the United States but rather view the United States as a natural extension of their business. Additionally, it’s impossible to imagine two “new” players with more experience in flour milling. Nisshin and Bunge have a combined 219 years in wheat milling, ranking them as seasoned global millers. Amid huge changes in their own business, bakers should feel sanguine about potential shifts in the structure of their principal supplier base.

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