Kellogg Co., the 116-year-old maker of Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies, Pringles and Eggo, will split into three companies focused on cereals, snacks and plant-based foods.
Kellogg’s, which also owns plant-based food brand MorningStar Farms, said Tuesday that the spinoff of the yet-to-be-named cereal and plant-based foods companies should be completed by the end of next year.
Kellogg’s had net sales of $14.2 billion in 2021, with $11.4 billion generated by its snack division, which makes Cheez-Its, Pringles and Pop-Tarts, among other brands. Cereal accounted for another $2.4 billion in sales last year while plant-based sales totaled around $340 million.
In a conference call with investors, CEO Steve Cahillane said separating the businesses will make them more nimble and better able to focus on their own products. All three businesses have significant stand-alone potential, he said.
“Cereal will be solely dedicated to winning in cereal and will not have to compete for resources against the high-growth snacking business,” said Cahillane, a former Coca-Cola and AB InBev executive who joined Kellogg in 2017.
Cahillane will become chairman and CEO of the global snacking company. The management team of the cereal company will be named later. The board of directors has approved the spinoffs.
Shareholders will receive shares in the two spinoffs on a pro-rata basis relative to their Kellogg holdings.
Cahillane said Kellogg has been carefully evaluating its portfolio since 2018, when it announced a plan to shift its resources toward its highest-growth categories, like snacks. In 2019, Kellogg sold its cookie, pie crust, ice cream cone and fruit business to the Ferraro Group.
Kellogg has been sharpening its focus on its fast-growing snacks for years; they now make up around 80% of the company’s sales. Pringles sales jumped 13% between 2019 and 2021, for example, while Cheez-It sales were up 9%.
But the prospects for cereal and plant-based meat are less clear.
U.S. cereal sales have been waning for years as consumers moved to more portable products, like energy bars. They saw a brief spike during pandemic lockdowns, when more people sat down for breakfast at home. But sales fell again in 2021. In the 52 weeks to May 38, U.S. cereal sales were flat, according to NielsenIQ.
Kellogg said it would explore other options for its plant-based business, including a possible sale. Cahillane said the plant-based category is seeing fierce competition from new — and, in many cases, unprofitable — entrants, and Kellogg needs to be more nimble and aggressive to counter that.
The cereal and plant-based meat companies will remain headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, where Kellogg was founded in 1906.
FILE – The logo for Kellogg’s appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Kellogg’s announced Tuesday, June 21, 2022 that it is splitting into three companies: a cereal maker, a snack maker and a plant-based food company. Kellogg’s, whose brands include Eggo waffles, Rice Krispies cereal and MorningStar Farms vegetarian products, said the proposed spinoffs of the yet to be named cereal and plant-based companies are expected to be completed by the end of 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)