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Aluminum foil maker Reynolds leans on innovation to drive sales growth

Monica Schipper | Getty Images

Reynolds Consumer Products is best known for its aluminum foil and Hefty trash bags, but that could soon change.

The company’s net sales in 2018 were $3.1 billion. More than a fifth of that revenue came from products that are less than three years old. CEO Lance Mitchell said that the company expects that the trend continued in 2019.

This year, Reynolds has more than 140 products in its development pipeline.

Mitchell gave the example of its slow cooker liners as a product that is driving revenue growth in an industry that has seen its organic sales growth slow in recent years. The plastic liners reduce the average cleaning time for a slow cooker from 10 to 15 minutes to about 8 seconds, he said. About 90% of consumers who try the liners out keep buying them.

New products also help Reynolds differentiate itself from private label brands, which have been eating into the sales of consumer giants.

Reynolds is also jumping on trends that appeal to younger consumers. The company makes YouTube videos and posts recipes for sheet-pan cooking. The Instagram friendly cooking technique involves making an entire meal — meat, vegetables and starches — on a single sheet pan. Mitchell said that the trend drives consumers to use its aluminum foil more frequently.

The company made its debut in the public markets on Friday, as the market was trading lower more broadly due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the sell-off, Reynolds shares were jumping 8% in afternoon trading. The stock is trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker “REYN.”

Reynolds priced its initial public offering at $26 per share, making it the first company in 2020 to go public with a market value higher than $1 billion. It will be using the proceeds to pay down debt.

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