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McCormick Spices: Great Taste Starts with a Commitment to R&D


It would be hard to find a company that does more to bring life to the taste of food than McCormick Spices, whose products can be found in residential and commercial kitchens around the world. McCormick is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014 with its annual Flavor Forecast, new recipes, videos, and opportunities for its customers to share their ideas.  

The company was founded in Baltimore. Today, it operates plants in Hunt Valley, Maryland; Gretna, Louisiana; South Bend, Indiana; Atlanta, Georgia; Irving, Texas; and London, Ontario; and one in Mexico, as well as a number of plants overseas. About 40% of sales come from non-U.S. operations.

Consumers are often surprised when they learn how much R&D goes into the company’s products. McCormick typically will invest between $52 million and $58 million in R&D each year at its research labs and product-development facilities. These efforts focus on developing new products, improving existing ones, and finding ways to lower sodium and calories, to help consumers more easily comply with recommend dietary guidelines that often include reducing salt, fat, and added sugars. McCormick is also involved in studies of diets in a variety of global regions.

Through the years, McCormick has grown its business not only by developing its own products but also through acquisitions. Its purchase of A. Schilling of San Francisco in 1947, enabled distribution across the entire continent. Canada’s largest spice company, Gorman Eckert Ltd, was acquired in 1962. Then came a frozen-foods acquisition, Gilroy Foods, in 1973. McCormick added an interest in Old Bay seasonings in 1990 and purchased Lawry’s seasonings in 2008. Today, the company employs about 8,000 people worldwide.

Raw materials, such as peppers and onions, are sourced both locally and internationally. McCormick’s manufacturing processes are highly efficient, yet the company continually works to minimize waster. Instead of relying on landfills or incinerators, McCormick recycles its scrap metals, cardboard, office paper, plastics, and food waste whenever it can. The London, Ontario plant recycles nearly 45% of its solid waste, and the Monteux, France plant now recycles 75% of waste. Packaging is minimized whenever possible.

Spices, rubs, and seasonings make food more delicious, and in that process, bring people and even different cultures a little bit closer together. And that may be, as McCormick celebrates its 125th anniversary, the company’s greatest achievement of all!