Food

C-stores, mass merchandisers represent growth opportunities for Utz



HANOVER, PA. — Getting its brands into more convenience stores and mass merchandisers could keep sales at Utz Brands, Inc. on the current upward trajectory.

“If we had a 5.5% share in those markets like we do for grocery based on 2020 fiscal-year numbers, it would represent an incremental $200 million of retail sales, right?” said Dylan B. Lissette, chief executive officer, on Sept. 10 at the virtual Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference.

Acquiring the On The Border brand from Truco Enterprises last year gave Utz Brands a more impressive product portfolio to sell to mass merchandisers, he said.

“We noted last quarter, we won a significant number of new facings with the largest mass retailer,” Mr. Lissette said. “So we feel really good about our position there for long-term growth. In c-store, we’re No. 5 nationally in share, but that really is a tale of kind of two halves of the country. We’re No. 2 in the East in c-store, but we’re No. 6 in the West.”

In grocery, Utz Brands ranks No. 3 in the East and No. 5 in the West.

“So our growth rates in the West in the grocery channel have been strong, and there’s a lot of white space for us to go after there as well,” Mr. Lissette said.

Mr. Lissette said Utz Brands had about $100 million in annual sales when he joined the company in 1995.

“I just looked at the numbers, and we have $1.3 billion of IRI MULO (multioutlet) market share sales in the salty snack category,” he said. “So it will be grown to be an important part of the category. Our brands, we’ve seen over time, they transcend geographies, meaning we can go into a new market, and there’s a very high consumer acceptance.”

Hanover-based Utz Brands could hit $1 billion in net sales this fiscal year. The company finished fiscal-year 2020 with $964 million in net sales, which was up 26% from $768 million in 2019. Through the first half of 2021 net sales were $567 million, up 21% from $470 million in the same time of the previous year.

“We picked up new buyers through the last two years — some of it COVID-related,” Mr. Lissette said. “We were in the right place at the right time with the right brands, and we did quite well.”



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