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Ralcorp Holdings, Inc.
Subsidiary of ConAgra Foods
Industry Food production
Founded 1994 (1994) in St. Louis, Missouri (Spun off from Ralston Purina)
Headquarters Bank of America Plaza
St. Louis, Missouri
, United States
Key people
Richard Koulouris (VP and President)
Products Private brand foods sold under the individual labels of various grocery, mass merchandise and drugstore retailers, and frozen bakery products sold to in-store bakeries, restaurants and other foodservice customers.

Ralcorp Holdings is a manufacturer of various food products, including breakfast cereal, cookies, crackers, chocolate, snack foods, mayonnaise, pasta and peanut butter. The company is based in St. Louis, Missouri. The majority of the items Ralcorp makes are private label, store brand products. It has over 9,000 employees.[1] Ralcorp has its headquarters in the Bank of America Plaza in downtown St. Louis.[2]

History and description[edit]

1922 newspaper ad for Ralston Whole Wheat cereal.

Originally part of Ralston Purina, the Ralston name was more associated with food for humans; soda crackers and a farina cereal, among other products, were marketed under this name. Ralcorp can trace its ancestry to 1898 when William H. Danforth of Purina Mills, which made animal feeds, began making breakfast cereal. He sought and received the endorsement of Webster Edgerly (a.k.a. Dr. Ralston) who founded the Ralstonism social movement.[3] Ralston cereal became so successful that Purina Mills was renamed Ralston Purina in 1902.[4] Ralston Purina also for many years produced the familiar line of Chex and Cookie Crisp cold breakfast cereals. The animal and human food businesses were seemingly only tenuously related. In 1994, the human food business was spun off to Ralcorp Holdings, operating as Ralston Foods, which then sold its branded breakfast cereal lineup to General Mills and its Continental Baking division (Wonder Bread and Twinkies) to Interstate Bakeries. The Purina part of the company is now split. The pet food company was sold to Nestlé is now called Nestlé Purina PetCare. The livestock food company is called Purina Mills, LLC and is a unit of Land O'Lakes. Ralcorp manufactures many store brand foods that are sold in grocery outlets across the United States under the retailers' private labels. In late 2007, Ralcorp signed an agreement with Kraft Foods to acquire the Post Cereals brands, thus returning to the major branded cereal business. The acquisition was completed August 4, 2008.[5] Another brand name product Ralcorp makes and markets is Ry-Krisp crisp bread.

Purchase by ConAgra[edit]

In 2011, Ralcorp received an offer for the company from ConAgra Foods. Ralcorp resisted the attempt. Ralcorp also announced it was spinning off its Post Foods unit.[6] The spinoff was completed in 2012.[7] On November 27, 2012, ConAgra officials announced they were purchasing Ralcorp, pending Ralcorp shareholder approval, for approximately $4.95 billion. Stockholders of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. would receive $90 per share. The acquisition was completed in January 2013.[8] As a result, ConAgra is the largest private-label packaged food business in the United States.[9]


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