AdvancePierre Foods (APF), a leading supplier of value-added, center-of-plate protein and sandwich products to foodservice, retail and convenience channels, is reporting record 2014 net sales of approximately $1.6 billion, a 6 percent increase over 2013 results. Customer-focused service and innovation have been cited as key drivers of growth.

"The food industry is evolving, and companies have had to keep pace with rapidly changing trends and record protein inflation in the context of changing guidelines in a highly regulated business environment," shared John Simons, APF president and CEO. "By focusing on the variables that we can control – delighting our customers through superior service and great-tasting food solutions – AdvancePierre has increased volume and margins in what has been a difficult year for the industry. Our growth will continue in 2015 with unwavering commitment to our customers and through the pursuit of other strategic opportunities including acquisitions."

Innovation, Customer Service Fuel Volume
The 48-member team, which includes a dedicated consumer insights group, completed nearly 230 new projects and 171 new SKUs in 2014. Its efforts have resulted in numerous product accolades, including a recent Product of the Year designation by Convenience Store News.

APF identified 2014 as a year of acceleration, aligning resources to maximize its customization and commercialization capabilities. Simons revealed: "Success for AdvancePierre hinges on our ability to deliver superior value to our customers and great-tasting foods to their patrons. Being nimble enough to innovate for each customer, yet sophisticated enough to commercialize products at scale, has fueled increased volume across our business units."

More than 11 percent of APF's 2014 sales came from products on the market for less than two years. Innovative customer solutions have included unique products new to the marketplace as well as significant reformulations of existing offerings to enhance flavor and appearance. "Our ability to embrace complexity in order to deliver turnkey solutions to our customers is an important capability and speaks to a culture that places our customers first," Simons continued.

Sandwich Growth
With 2 million sandwiches produced each day and nearly 2,000 associates dedicated to sandwich making, APF expanded its sandwich production by 25 percent in 2014. The company's full-service, value-add capabilities – which encompass making the protein, baking the bread and assembling, packaging, distributing, securing retail presence and marketing the product – enhance operational and commercial excellence while ensuring APF ingrains innovation and quality through every step of the process.

A core product offering and a growth opportunity for 2015, APF's sandwich products span branded and private-label offerings in the retail and convenience spaces and include a number of healthy breakfast and lunch options for the company's school channel customers. Simons added, "Our full-service sandwich capabilities are a clear point of difference for APF, and we're excited to pursue aggressive growth opportunities to continue the momentum and leadership position we've established in this category."

2015 Outlook
A transformational year in 2014 – which included new leadership, a renewed focus on a values-based culture and company-wide execution on sustainable improvement and cost-savings initiatives – carries APF into 2015 with significant positive momentum. "Our year-over-year increase in net sales was carried by a 2014 second-half performance that achieved 15 percent growth," Simons added. "Our efforts and foundational work throughout the year have positioned us for continued success." APF currently is hiring at multiple Midwest manufacturing facilities to support its sandwich and protein operations.

Source: AdvancePierre Foods