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Shearer's Foods

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Title: Shearer's Foods  
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Subject: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Collection: Companies Based in Ohio, Snack Companies of the United States
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Shearer's Foods

Shearer's Foods, LLC
Type Private company
Industry Snack food
Founded 1974
Headquarters Massillon, Ohio, USA
Key people CJ Fraleigh CEO
Fritz Kohmann CFO
Monty Pooley CCO
Scott Heldreth SVP & CIO
Walt Fink VP HR
Products See products section
Owners Wind Point Partners
Website .com.shearerswww

Shearer's Foods, LLC is a manufacturer of snack products including potato chips, tortillas, whole grain chips, cheese curls/puffs, popcorn, pork rinds, and rice crisps. Shearer's Foods was founded in 1974 as a snack food distributor in Brewster, Ohio and has a regional distribution throughout the Midwest, New England, and parts of Canada.

Shearer's manufactures, warehouses, and distributes branded snacks and contract and private label products for snack food companies and retailers. Its branded products include Shearer's® Potato Chips, Pretzels, Pork Rinds, and Salsa Con Queso; Tangos™ Tortilla Chips; Shapers™ Whole Grain Chips; and riceworks® rice crisps. Shearer’s Foods is the largest kettle chip manufacturer in the world. With its sustainable initiatives, its newest plant in Massillon, OH is the first LEED Platinum food manufacturing plant in the world.[1]

Shearer’s employs over 1,850 associates in eleven locations including five manufacturing plants and eight distribution facilities. Its headquarters is located in Massillon, Ohio.


  • History 1
    • Growth and transition 1.1
    • Recent advances 1.2
  • Environmental sustainability 2
  • Manufacturing 3
    • Manufacturing capabilities 3.1
    • Plants 3.2
  • The Products 4
  • References 5


In the early 1900s, the Shearer family opened Shearer's Market in Canton, Ohio. The third generation, Jack Shearer and his wife, Rosemary, operated the family grocery store from the 1950s until 1976, and in 1974 bought a snack food distributorship and named it Brookside Distributing. In 1979, they began manufacturing "hand-cooked" potato chips until discovering that a kettle cooked chip provided more of a crunch and a standardized method of preparation. The Shearers hand-cooked potato chips from the kettle, packaged them in one-pound poly bags with a twist tie, delivered them from a warehouse, and first sold them under the "Kettle-Cook'd" label.[2]

Growth and transition

In 1982, Shearer's purchased a 20,000 square foot facility on ten acres in Brewster, Ohio. Soon after, six hand-kettles and a peanut roaster were in operation. The Grandma Shearer's logo appeared on shelves in 1983, and 3,700 pounds of potatoes were processed daily. Shearer's installed its first continuous fryer to produce up to 1,000 pounds of potato chips every hour and expanded its warehouse and maintenance space by 9,000 square feet in 1986.[3]

In 1988, the company increased its plant size again. This growth continued through the 1990s and included the addition of a second continuous fryer, two hand-kettle fryers that featured automatic stirring systems (among the very first manufactured in all of the United States), computerized combination weighers, state-of-the-snack equipment for tortilla chips and cheese curls, and an additional 100,000 square feet of space.[4]

In the early 2000s, six hand-kettle cookers, a new potato peeling system, distribution and transfer conveyors, and a new seasoning system were installed. Thirty-three acres adjacent to the current location were purchased to combine for 77 acres in total, while a portion of the storage operation was relocated nine miles from the headquarters to Massillon.

The company was named "Snack Manufacturer of the Year" by Snack Food & Wholesake Bakery magazine in 2002[5] and again in 2011.

Shearer's developed a new logo, revamped packaging, and expanded its Factory Outlet Store in 2004. A $2.6 million wastewater treatment plant was completed in the spring, and six additional hand-kettle cookers were installed along with a new packaging area, making Shearer's one of the largest manufacturers of kettle-cooked potato chips in the nation.[4]

Recent advances

An increasing trend of whole grains and better-for-you snacks resulted in three new whole grain tortilla chip products with 100% yellow corn whole grain in 2006.[6]

In 2008, Shearer's Foods unveiled plans to build the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified food manufacturing plant in the entire State of Ohio and became the first LEED® Platinum Certified food manufacturing plant in the world.[1]

In 2009, Shearer's introduced two multi-SKU brands to retail, Tangos™ Tortilla Chips and Shapers™ Whole Grain Chips.

In 2010, Shearer’s acquired Snack Alliance, Inc. and its Canadian affiliate (collectively, “Snack Alliance”), a branded, contract pack and private label snack producer in North America. Founded in 2000, Snack Alliance employed over 400 associates across the United States and Canada. Snack Alliance had manufacturing operations located in Hermiston, Oregon and Bristol, Virginia that produced potato chips, tortilla chips, extruded products, popcorn, and their riceworks® brand of snacks. Whole grain, gluten free, and lower in fat than most salty snacks, riceworks® is a patented product made with whole grain brown rice.[7]

In May 2011, Shearer’s created a new line extension of their potato chips that are cooked in 100% premium canola oil, offering 0 grams of Trans Fat.

In June 2012, Shearer's moves its headquarters into the four story Grand Mill Centre building in downtown Massillon, Ohio.

In October 2012, Shearer's sold to Chicago based Wind Point Partners [8]

Environmental sustainability

The company maintains a commitment to sustainability and energy performance, joining Energy Star in 2006 while continuously working to improve energy performance in its offices, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers.[9] The company received recognition by way of a Crain's Cleveland Business' Emerald Award for its efforts.[10]

Through the creation of a comprehensive Energy Management Program, Shearer’s addresses environmental responsibility in its offices, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers. Some examples include(:[11]

  • A zero waste program that calls for all facilities to send less than one percent of waste to landfills.
  • Recycling finished goods and wet waste for use as animal feed.
  • Reclamation of all potato starch for refinement as industrial lubricant.
  • Recycling of all used vegetable oil.[12]
  • Completed conversion to high efficiency T8 & T5 lighting in Brewster and Lubbock manufacturing sites, and in Navarre Distribution warehouse areas.
  • Installation of new oil filtration equipment to increase oil quality and eliminate rendering of oil.
  • Installation of economizers on large air handling units to greatly reduce natural gas consumption during heating season.[13]
  • Wastewater management facilities that comply with state Environmental Protection Agency requirements[12]

The company broke ground with its LEED Platinum Certified snack food manufacturing plant in 2009. The plant in Massillon, Ohio was the first to receive such certification in Ohio[14] and the first food manufacturing plant in the world to achieve Platinum status.[1]


Manufacturing capabilities

Products range from standard sliced and rippled potato chips, kettle cooked potato chips, tortilla and whole grain extruded chips, and other extruded product such as cheese curls and puff corn (also known as hulless popcorn).

The company is conversant over a variety of base ingredients, including potatoes, yellow, white, blue, and organic corn, and seasonings and flavors developed both by both an in-house R&D group and external partners. Tortilla chips are produced using company produced masa. Production capabilities include:

  • Hand kettles for production of kettle cooked potato chips
  • Continuous potato chip lines for standard, wavy, and rippled chip production
  • Tortilla chips lines
  • Extruders for production of curl and puff product
  • Twin screw extrusion production
  • Distribution via company owned routes and a network of select distributors throughout the Midwest United States, New England, and parts of Canada from six distribution centers in Ohio and Pennsylvania.


The Products


  • Kettle Cooked Potato Chips in flavors Original, Mesquite BBQ, Salt and Pepper, Salt and Vinegar, Jalapeño, Sweet Barbeque, and Reduced Fat Original
  • Home-Style Potato Chips in Classic and Rippled
  • Rippled Potato Chips in flavors Barbeque, Sour Cream and Onion, Pepperoni Pizza, Parmesan Garlic, Southwest Chili and Cheese, and Home Run Hot Dog
  • Baked Cheese Curls and Krazi Curls
  • Butter Puffs and Cheese Puffs
  • Pretzels in Thins, Minis, Sticks, Rods, Holiday Shapes, and flavors Honey Wheat and Butter Twist
  • Pork Rinds in flavors Original and Barbecue

Tangos™ in flavors Restaurant Style, Margarita Lime, Cantina Style, Cheesy Nacho, Habanero Queso, Bite Size, Deli Rounds, and all-natural flavors including Blue Corn with Sesame Seeds, Blue Corn & Berries, Fire Roasted Veggie, and Multigrain & Flaxseed

Shapers™ in flavors Sea Salt, Cheddar, Black Bean and Salsa, and Cinnamon

Thin & Crispy

  • Potato Chips in flavors Original, BBQ, Salt and Vinegar, Sour Cream and Onion, Salt and Pepper, Salt and Lime, Habanero, Stuffed Jalapeno, Sweet Maui Onion, and Dill
  • Tortilla chips in flavors Cheesy Nacho, Habanero, Lime, and Ranch

riceworks® in flavors Sea Salt, Salsa Fresca, Sweet Chili, Tangy BBQ, and Parmesan & Sundried Tomato as well as Wild riceworks® in Sea Salt and Black Sesame

Miscellaneous items including Salsa Con Queso and Jenny’s Popcorn varieties


  1. ^ a b c Staley, Doug (May 14, 2011). "Shearer's, Fresh Mark, Drummond are success stories". The Independent, Massillon. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Schultz, Martin. "True grit: How Shearer's Foods started out as a corner store and became one of the U.S.'s fastest-growing snack food manufacturers and most progressive companies. (2002 Snack Manufacturer of the Year)". HighBeam Research. Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Shearer's Foods,Inc.". FundingUniverse. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Shearer's Foods, Inc.". FundingUniverse. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "True grit: How Shearer's Foods started out as a corner store and became one of the U.S.'s fastest-growing snack food manufacturers and most progressive companies.". Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery. 2002-03-01. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  6. ^ "Snack Food Association Endorses Alliance for a Healthier Generation Snack Food Guidelines". Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Shearer's Foods Inc. Acquires Snack Alliance, Inc.". Manufacturer's Group. Manufacturers Group, Inc. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Shearer's Foods sold to Chicago Company". The Independent. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "How Shearer’s Foods improved the bottom line by focusing on sustainability". Smart Business Cleveland. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  10. ^ "Champions of sustainability honored". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  11. ^ Gueverra, Leslie. "Shearer's Cuts the Ribbon on America's Greenest Snack Factory". Green Buildings. Green Biz Group. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Higgins, Kevin. "Plant of the Year: Shearer’s Foods Rethinks the Food Plant". Food Engineering Magazine. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Making an effort". Akron/Canton Smart Business. Smart Business Network. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "Shearer's breaks ground on Massillon plant". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
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