McCormick & Company

McCormick & Company is an American food company that manufactures, markets, and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavoring products for the industrial, restaurant, institutional, and home markets. A Fortune 1000 company, McCormick has approximately 11,700 employees. The company headquarters moved from Sparks to Hunt Valley, Maryland in the third quarter of 2018.

McCormick & Company
Traded as
IndustryProcessed & Packaged goods
Founded1889 (1889)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
FounderWilloughby McCormick
HeadquartersHunt Valley, Maryland, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Lawrence E. Kurzius,[1] Chairman, President & CEO Mike Smith EVP & CFO[2]
ProductsSpices, herbs, flavorings
  • US$ 4,400 million (2016)[3]
  • US$ 4,123.4 million (2013)[4]
  • US$ 550.5 million (2013)[4]
  • US$ 578.3 million (2012)[4]
  • US$ 389.0 million (2013)[4]
  • US$ 407.8 million (2012)[4]
Total assets
  • US$ 4,449.7 million (2013)[5]
  • US$ 4,165.4 million (2012)[4]
Total equity
  • US$ 1,947.7 million (2013)[5]
  • US$ 1,700.2 million (2012)[4]
Number of employees
11,700[6] (2017)


Its brands include McCormick; Zatarain's, Lawry's, Old Bay Seasoning, French's, Frank's Red Hot, Mojave Foods, Cattleman's, Giotti, El Guapo, Gourmet Garden, Kitchen Basics, Stubb's, Brand Aromatics, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia (United States); Ducros, Drogheria & Alimentari, Kamis, Galeo, Margão (Portugal), Silvo, and Vahiné (Europe); Club House spices and Billy Bee Honey (Canada); Schwartz (United Kingdom); Aeroplane Jelly and Keen's Mustard (McCormick Foods Australia); Kamis (Poland).


Willoughby M. McCormick (1864–1932), started the business in Baltimore at age 25 in 1889. From one room and a cellar, the initial products were sold door-to-door and included root beer, flavoring extracts, fruit syrups and juices. Seven years later, McCormick bought the F.G. Emmett Spice Company and entered the spice industry.[7] In 1903, Willoughby and his brother Roberdeau incorporated the company in Maine;[8] it was reincorporated in Maryland in 1915. Most of the company's assets and records were destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of February 1904, the third worst conflagration to hit an American city which over two days burned most of the city's central business district, north of the harbor waterfront with most of its then new rising skyscrapers. However, a new five-story building was erected on the same site within 10 months in 1905. Willoughby's nephew Charles P. McCormick (1896–1970), began working for the company in the summer of 1912, during his high school years at the all-boys third oldest secondary school in America, The Baltimore City College before graduating in 1915, and going on to The Johns Hopkins University in its first years at the new Homewood campus in north Baltimore, and was later elected to the company Board of Directors in 1925.[7]

Willoughby died on November 4, 1932, and Charles was elected President and Chairman of the Board at age 36. The big "Mc" became a trademark for nearly all U.S. products in 1941.

Charles P. ("Buzz")  McCormick, Jr. was elected President and Chief Executive Officer in 1987 and re-elected CEO and Chairman of the Board in 1988.

The company celebrated its centennial in 1989 with events primarily for employees and those responsible for its success, and arranged for the musical group Up with People to give a series of performances across the U.S. for schools, churches, hospitals and similar organizations.[9]


McCormick acquired San Francisco-based coffee, spice and extract house A. Schilling & Company in 1947, enabling McCormick to begin coast-to-coast distribution in the U.S.[10] McCormick continued to use the Schilling name for its Western division until the 1990s, with the last product containers marked Schilling produced in 2002; since then, all of the company's products have been marketed under the McCormick name nationwide.

Ben-Hur Products,[11] a similar California-based company, was acquired in 1953, and Canada's largest spice firm, Gorman Eckert & Co. Ltd. of London, Ontario, was acquired in 1959. Gilroy Foods of Gilroy, California became a wholly owned subsidiary in 1961. Other acquisitions included Baker Extract Co. in 1962, Cake Mate cake decorating in 1967, Childers Foods (later part of Golden West Foods) in 1968, and Tubed Products, an Easthampton, Massachusetts contract food packer and producer of plastic tubes, also in 1968. Charles P. McCormick retired in 1969 and was named Chairman Emeritus and died the following year of a heart attack.[12]

McCormick acquired Golden West Foods, a frozen foods manufacturer and distributor in Gilroy, California, in 1973 and entered that field under the Schilling brand label. The McCormick (east) and Schilling (west) retail units were consolidated to form a Grocery Products Division in 1975 with its headquarters in Baltimore. Additional acquisitions included All Portions in 1975, TV Time Foods of Chicago in 1976, Astro Foods of San Rafael, California in 1977, and Han-Dee Pak of Atlanta in 1979.

In October 1979, Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Sandoz, Ltd., announced its intention of purchasing the company.[13] McCormick sued Sandoz in May 1980 and by September Sandoz agreed to relinquish its efforts to purchase McCormick and sold the shares that it acquired in its attempt to purchase the company.

Setco, a plastic bottles producer in Culver City, California, and Stange, a specialty flavorings and colorings company of Chicago, were purchased as subsidiaries in 1981. The company acquired Paterson Jenks, a publicly held United Kingdom corporation, in 1984, and Schwartz, the largest British spice line. Other acquisitions included Armanino Farms, the world's largest grower and processor of chives, from Armanino & Son, Inc., of San Francisco in 1986; and three California companies in 1987: Gentry Foods of Gilroy, Parsley Patch of Windsor, and The Herb Farm of Encinitas.

McCormick purchased an interest in the Old Bay seasoning brand in 1990, which was regionally famous for its use in preparing and steaming the local seafood delicacy of the Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and acquired Mojave Foods Corporation of Los Angeles in 1991, and the consumer products business of Golden Dipt Company in 1993. McCormick's 1994 acquisitions included Grupo Pesa of Mexico, Tuko Oy of Finland, Butto of Switzerland, and Minipack of Southampton, United Kingdom. Chairman Emeritus Charles P. McCormick Jr. was re-elected chairman in 1994. The company sold Golden West Foods in 1995 and Minipack of Southampton in 1996. Also sold in 1996 were Gilroy Foods and Gilroy Energy, as well as Giza National Dehydration of Cairo, Egypt. McCormick Canada acquired the French's dry seasoning line in 1997.[14]

The company acquired Ducros of France in 2000, later renamed McCormick France. In 2003, McCormick was added to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index; acquired UniqSauces of the UK and Zatarain's of Louisiana; and sold its packaging businesses, Setco and Tubed Products, as well as its Jenks brokerage business assets. The company acquired C.M. van Sillevoldt B.V. of the Netherlands in 2004 and Epicurean International (renamed Simply Asia Foods) in 2006, with its Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia brands. In 2007, the company started a new advertising campaign to encourage people to dispose of older packages of spices, by pointing out that any of their packages that list their address as "Baltimore, MD 21202" are over 15 years old.[15][16][17] In 2008, McCormick acquired Billy Bee Honey Products of Canada, and the Lawry's brand of seasonings and marinades (it would remain the biggest acquisition in company history for about ten years).[18] To gain FTC approval for the purchase of Lawry's, McCormick agreed to sell its Season-All business to Morton Salt.[19][20]

In 2011, the company acquired Kitchen Basics, an Ohio-based brand of shelf-stable liquid stock, for $38 million.[21] During that year, it also acquired Kamis S.A., a privately held Polish company with leading brands in spices, seasonings, mustards and other flavor products in Poland for $291 million.[22] It also bought an 85% stake in Kohinoor Speciality Foods India for $115 million, a joint venture with India-based Kohinoor Foods Ltd to market and sell basmati and ready-to-eat food products in India.[23]

In mid-2013, the company completed its acquisition of Wuhan Asia-Pacific Condiments Co. Ltd. (WAPC), a seasoning manufacturer in the central region of China with the Daqiao and ChuShiLe bouillon products.[24]

In December 2015, McCormick announced that Lawrence E. Kurzius, head of global operations, would become CEO effective February 2016. Kurzius was a leader at McCormick for 12 years before the announcement and previously held positions at Uncle Ben's, Mars Inc., and the Quaker Oats Co.[25]

The company dropped its bid to acquire Premier Foods in April 2016 after determining that Premier's asking price wouldn't benefit shareholders.[26]

Late in 2016, the company acquired Enrico Giotti SpA, a private Italian flavorings company, in a $127 million deal.[3]

In 2017, McCormick purchased Reckitt Benckiser's Food Division (“RB Foods”). At over four billion dollars, it topped the Lawry's acquisition a decade earlier, to become the largest acquisition in the company's history.[27] The addition of French's and Frank's RedHot to McCormick's global portfolio represent the second and third largest brands, respectively, behind the McCormick brand.

Research & Development

In February 2019, McCormick announced that it worked with IBM to build an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyze decades of data to develop new flavor combinations and seasoning mixes.[28] The company said it plans to bring its first AI-developed line of seasoning mixes to market in 2019, which will be called "One" for making one-dish meals.


In 1970, McCormick moved its manufacturing and corporate offices from Baltimore's Inner Harbor to suburban Sparks, Maryland. In 2018, the company's 1,100-employee global headquarters moved from Sparks to nearby Hunt Valley, with a grand opening held on October 2, 2018.[29]

McCormick's consumer segment has brands in approximately 150 countries and territories. The retail range includes spices & herbs, recipe mixes, extracts, condiments, marinades, stocks, broths, bouillons, sauces, toppings, homemade desserts, rice mixes, salad dressings and breadings.

McCormick makes flavorings, branded food services products, condiments, coating systems and ingredients for food manufacturers, food service operators and restaurants around the world.


  1. "McCormick - Leadership". McCormick. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  2. "McCormick & Company's (MKC) CEO Lawrence Kurzius on Q4 2017 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  3. Sharrow, Ryan (July 18, 2017). "McCormick to add French's mustard, Frank's RedHot in $4.2 billion deal". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved July 19, 2017. McCormick's most recent acquisition was a $127 million deal late last year for Enrico Giotti SpA, a privately held company headquartered in Florence, Italy.
  4. "MCCORMICK & CO INC 2013 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. January 29, 2014.
  5. "MCCORMICK & CO INC 2014 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. March 26, 2014.
  6. "McCormick". Fortune. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
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  8. "McCormick and Company, Inc. – Company History". FundingUniverse. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  9. "Company History 1980–1989". McCormick and Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  10. "Company History 1930–1949". McCormick and Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  11. "Ben-Hur Coffee". Another Side of History. June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  12. "Company History 1950–1969". McCormick and Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  13. "Company History 1970–1979". McCormick and Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  14. "Company History 1990–1999". McCormick and Company. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  15. USA Weekend Magazine, September 28, 2007, Page 15
  16. "Dinner & Menu Ideas - McCormick". Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  17. McCormick Fresh Flavor Archived February 2, 2013, at
  18. "Company History 2000–Present". McCormick and Company. Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  19. Segall, Eli (August 1, 2008). "McCormick seasons its business by closing Lawry's deal". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  20. "FTC Challenges McCormick's Acquisition of Unilever's Lawry's and Adolph's Brands". Federal Trade Commission. June 30, 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
  21. Reimer, Miriam (September 28, 2011). "McCormick Looks to Acquisitions for Growth". Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  22. "McCormick Enters Agreement to Acquire Kamis, a Brand Leader of Spices, Seasonings and Mustards in Poland". Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  23. "McCormick: McCormick to buy 85% in JV with Kohinoor for $115 million". June 3, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  24. "McCormick signs agreement to buy Chinese company". Baltimore Sun. August 21, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  25. Sullivan, Joanna (December 1, 2015). "McCormick names new CEO". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  26. Serafino, Phil. "Premier Foods Plunges After McCormick Abandons Buyout Talks". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 13, 2016.
  27. Wilen, Holden. "McCormick closes $4.2B acquisition of French's, Frank's RedHot maker". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  28. Metz, Rachel (February 5, 2019). "The world's biggest spice company is using AI to find new flavors". CNN. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  29. Mirabella, Lorraine (October 2, 2018). "McCormick & Co. opens new Hunt Valley headquarters". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
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