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Posted: November 08, 2013

2013 Top Company winner: WhiteWave Foods

Maintaining its mission and leveraging its size, scope and scale

Gigi Sukin

CONSUMER BUSINESS

WHITEWAVE FOODS CO. (Watch a video about WhiteWave.)

In a 2003 TED talk, famed entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin mentioned the dairy-free product Silk to emphasize a point about modern marketing.

WhiteWave Foods Co. “put a product that does not need to be in the refrigerated section next to the milk. ... Sales tripled. Why? Milk, milk, milk, milk – not milk. For the people who were there and looked at that section, it was remarkable.”

Without a monstrous ad budget or gorilla marketing methods, WhiteWave managed to get people talking, drinking and eating.

“We’re founded on innovation. We’ve created almost every category in which we play,” said Molly Keveney, the company's vice president of communications and community affairs.

Sure, WhiteWave strives to make delicious, responsibly produced food and beverages – and achieves that goal with its award-winning product innovation; but behind each carton of Horizon organic milk or bottle of International Delight iced coffee creamer, “Our purpose is to change the way the world eats for the better,” Keveney said. Continuous product launches are part of a long-term brand-building initiative aimed to keep WhiteWave firmly planted as a category leader in the rapidly shifting consumer packaged goods industry.

WhiteWave completed an initial public offering in October 2012 that raised more than $365 million. In 2012, the company grew sales by 8 percent in the premium dairy category and invested more than $90 million in manufacturing plants with five new production lines to accommodate growing business units.

By leveraging the scale of its business, WhiteWave has also been able to commit itself to charitable giving with its Values in Action program. Last year, the company’s 500 Colorado-based team members logged more than 13,500 hours in volunteer work, nearly double its efforts the prior year. To further demonstrate its dedication, 97 percent of the company’s employees participated in this year’s “Compete to Beat Hunger Corporate Challenge.”

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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