Peter Frederick heads what he admits is probably the largest company in Chattanooga most people have never heard about.
From his second-floor office in the Craftworks building on Main Street, Frederick and nearly three dozen other workers, manage 13 flour mills for Grain Craft, the largest independent flour mill in the country.
Grain Craft, which is the third biggest flour milling company in the United States and the ninth biggest milling firm in the world, doesn’t mill or process any wheat in Chattanooga. Its closest mill is in Rome, Georgia, which is one of three mills in the Southeast. Most of the company’s operations are west of the Mississippi in the grain belt, including three mills in Kansas where the company announced in September it is opening a new Grain Craft Lab at the Kansas Wheat Commission’s Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan.
But Frederick, a University of Iowa graduate who originally came to Chattanooga to work at another flour mill company and later worked at Cargill in Minneapolis, jumped at the chance to return to Chattanooga when he was given the chance to head company sales 17 years ago.
“I love Chattanooga and this has been a good location for our company,” he said.
Frederick, a 35-year veteran of the flour industry, was named last month as CEO of the parent company of Grain Craft, G&L Holdings. He succeeds Charlie Stout, who remains as the company chairman.
As president of the company and its predecessor since 2012, Frederick helped integrate the three companies that came together six years ago to form Grain Craft — Milner Milling, Pendleton Flour Mills, and Cereal Food Processors, Inc.
“Pete has deep industry experience and a proven track record of strong leadership,” Stout said. “He was instrumental in the formation of Grain Craft and seamlessly led the merger of the three companies. He recognizes the challenges we must confront and the strengths we already possess to continue to make Grain Craft a leader in the flour milling industry.”
Although the industry is mature and the per capita consumption of wheat flour in the United States dropped by nearly 10% in the past two decades before this year, the pandemic has boosted flour sales as home-bound Americans have been reintroduced to baking.
From its peak in 1997 of about 146 pounds per person, per capita flour consumption fell to about 132 pounds per person with more consumers shifting to low-carb or even Gluten-free diets.
Company at a glance
Name: Grain Craft, formed in 2014 by the merger of Milner Milling, Pendleton Flour Mills, and Cereal Food Processors, Inc.
Headquarters: Chattanooga in the second floor of the Craftworks building on Main Street
Ownership: Private controlled by the Grizzard and Labbe families
No. of mills: 13, including Southern locations in Rome and Barnesville, Georgia and in Birmingham, Alabama.
Products: Variety of wheat flours Grain Craft, Ace Hi, Bake Rite, Collins Best, Blue Ribbon,…
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