Companies in this industry mill flour and rice; malt grains (primarily barley); and mix prepared flour mixes and dough. Major US companies include Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, and Riceland Foods.
The US grain milling industry includes about 240 companies with combined annual revenue of about $20 billion. Key industry growth drivers include gluten-free products, branded flour products, and rice exports.
Wet corn milling, soybean processing, and vegetable oil refining are covered in the Edible Oils Manufacturing profile. Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing is also a separate industry profile.
Demand is driven by population growth and consumer patterns in bread, whole grains, and rice consumption. The profitability of individual companies depends on managing grain prices and inventory effectively, and minimizing the risk of rodents, insects, and molds. Large companies have advantages in advanced milling technology and a diversified product line. Small operations can compete effectively by specializing in organic, non-genetically modified, or heirloom grains. The US industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies account for about 90 percent of industry revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major products include flour (about 75 percent of industry revenue); rice (about 20 percent), and malted grains (about 5 percent).
Any grain can be ground into flour, but wheat is the most common milled grain. Each year, mills grind around 900 million bushels of wheat.
Wheat is typically seeded in spring or fall and harvested in late summer. Trucks transfer harvested wheat from a...