A legacy of flavor—and a taste for success

A history of smart acquisitions and thoughtful investments has the future looking bright for McCormick & Company.

Given the amount of time most people spent cooking at home this past year, it is appropriate that 2021 marks global flavor brand McCormick & Company’s return to the Fortune 500 after a 27-year hiatus. Since it last appeared on the list, the 132-year-old company has been busy bolstering its portfolio to meet both evolving needs and diversifying tastes. Today it is distributing spices, condiments, and other flavorful products to more than 160 markets around the world—making it the largest player in the global herbs and spices industry.

While the pandemic contributed to a growing home-cooking trend that helped boost business last year, McCormick has also reported a sustained double-digit consumption increase in key product categories through the first quarter of 2021. Lawrence E. Kurzius, CEO of McCormick, says that the company’s industry-leading performance has been driven by base business growth, new products, and strategic acquisitions.

“Our success is the result of our long-term strategies and steadfast focus on growth, performance, and people,” says Kurzius. “A key part of McCormick’s strategy is to acquire brands and businesses that support our growth objectives.”

Indeed, McCormick has spent the past century ensuring long-term success by continually strengthening and diversifying its already robust offerings. Its 2017 addition of the famous French’s mustard and Frank’s RedHot brands marked the company’s largest procurement yet—and it didn’t stop there. In 2020, its purchase of Cholula made it an authentic player in the rapidly growing hot sauce market, while the acquisition of FONA, a leading manufacturer of clean and natural flavors, bolstered its health-focused offerings.

But McCormick’s blueprint goes beyond making sure people have access to a diverse range of products. It also involves smart investments from the ground up.

“Investments in our employees, the smallholder farmers that grow our iconic ingredients, and the communities where we live, work, and source will continue to grow given our desire to deliver top-tier financial results while doing what’s right,” says Kurzius.

As McCormick—which was also named one of Barron’s 100 most sustainable companies and DiversityInc’s top 50 companies—moves forward, it does so with the same focus on ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) that has long been part of its DNA. Early on, the company determined that the purpose of a corporation is not only to earn profits for its shareholders but also to improve the society in which we all live. This notion has fueled efforts to proactively address food insecurity and social justice issues, increase diversity and inclusion among its 13,000-member global workforce, and help mitigate the impact of climate change.

“As a global leader defining the future of flavor, our purpose-led decisions are based on the way we see our business successfully growing for years to come,” says Kurzius, “and how we are making a difference for future generations.”