You may have heard of Tate & Lyle.  Their business is one of many today that has to with food and the scientific means that are applied to food creation. They are a food and science company. Much of what the food industry does today is about creating products better and cheaper. Often companies like Tate and Lyle are behind the scenes of many of the companies with which consumers are familiar.
Employees of Tate and Lyle include many scientists, engineers and others who have an appreciation of scientific subjects and complexities. Science has been part of food production for many years. If you look at many of the agricultural schools at universities you see a history of work in testing and researching various types of fruits and vegetables.  Soil science and insect control, weather studies, animal studies and more have been part and parcel of what our universities do.  Companies have grown around much of the same work and many companies have grown and evolved into new service areas and across borders.
 
Tate and Lyle owns what was once the Staley Manufacturing Company, a company with a considerable accomplishment in sports. Staley developed a myriad of products–some that were sold by Staley directly to consumers and some that were sold to other companies for use in their manufacturing.  Company founder,  August Staley, was a competitive man.  He built a tremendous agricultural company from corn and later soybean processing that would exert its presence globally. Staley did not want a mediocre anything. As he was developing his company, like other men of his era, he developed company sports teams that gave employees and townspeople (from Decatur, Illinois, in Staley’s case)  much to cheer about. His employees coached, managed and played for his teams.  
 
In 1920, Staley’s general superintendent George Chamberlin met with “Papa Bear” George Halas in Chicago and offered him a position with the Staley Manufacturing Company–a company that many have called the Staley Starch Company because of it’s early emphasis on starch products. Halas’s new job involved duties at the Decatur Staley Plant and management of its football team.  Halas could also play baseball with the Staley baseball team.  Halas accepted.
 
Halas aggressively recruited players from the best colleges in America. The players became hired employees working in the plant and played football for the Staley team.  Halas had insisted on practice time “on the clock” and very quickly he recruited a team of excellent players that looked like a college all-star team. Things came together for Halas as a group of like-minded men with teams met in Canton, Ohio, in Ralph Hayes Hupmobile Showroom and organized what we would be called a few years later the National Football League. 
 
The 1920 Decatur Staleys went 10-2-1 and finished second in the American Professional Football Association (soon to be renamed the National Football League). The Akron Pros took first.

After just a year, team expenses were high and the economy dipped. A. E. Staley had a problem. He could hardly afford to keep the team in Decatur at the Staley’s small stadium and continue to pay the players and share the gate receipts with them.  The Staley’s had shown however that when playing in Chicago, ample crowds were present. Both Staley and Halas realized a change in venue could save the team.  Staley arranged a generous one year sponsorship for Halas to take the team to the Windy City in 1921.  And Halas did just that and the Decatur Staley’s became the Chicago Staley’s in 1921 and then the Chicago Bears in 1922.  They played for many years at what became Wrigley Field and then moved to Soldier Field. Halas’s financial struggles with the Bears went on for many decades before the team was consistently stable financially, but he always appreciated the start he got from A. E. Staley.
 
The A. E. Staley Company, Decatur, and what long-time St. Louis Dispatch Reporter Bob Boerg called the  Decatur  Starchwork Terriers are part of Bears and NFL history. The Staley Manufacturing Company lasted as an independent entity for over 75 years and was acquired by Tate and Lyle for the price of what financial newspapers say a good NFL team is worth today. The Staley family made out fine in agribusiness. 

For history fans, and there are plenty of those in the Land of Lincoln, the Staley Mansion in Decatur has been transformed onto a museum. The story of the Staleys team and Papa Bear George Halas is covered in our book by Patrick McCaskey’s Pillars of the NFL
 
The Staley story is also concisely covered in our new book, Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears Winning Ways in the text and the glossary:

In England

Henry Tate started a sugar refining business way back in 1859 in Liverpool, England (home of the Beatles). The company evolved  through mergers and in 1939, Tate and Lyle’s facility on the Thames became the largest sugar refinery in the world. Further growth occurred when Tate and Lyle acquired United Molasses. Later, Sucralose was discovered by Tate & Lyle in partnership with researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London. Tate & Lyle created SPLENDA® Sucralose in partnership with McNeil Nutritionals LLC (a Johnson & Johnson company). In 1988, Tate and Lyle bought a 90% stake in A. E. Staley and over a period of time bought a large stake in Amylum, a European starch-based manufacturing business. In 2000, it purchased the remining minority interests of Staley and Amylum. Tate and Lyle acquired Haarmann & Reimer, a subsidiary of Bayer AG. Tate & Lyle became the world’s leading producer of citric acid.  Sugars, starches, and other products were the driving forces behind Tate and Lyle. 

Stock market analysts say that Tate and Lyle segments are Specialty Food Ingredients and Bulk Ingredients. Specialty Food Ingredients is becoming more competitive and companies have been expanding internationally. In addition to Tate and Lyle, companies such a Cargill and DuPont compete in this market. The Bulk Food Ingredients market has many of the same players, including 
Tate and Lyle, Cargill and DuPont. The Bulk Food Group market is said to be $169-172 billion for the next several years. The Specialty Food Ingredients markets is said to be smaller, $51.5 billion, but growing faster.

In the 21st century, Tate and Lyle has made many aggressive moves on its food and nutrition business. A new joint venture with DuPont produces Bio-PDO™, a textile polymer ingredient made from renewable resources (replaces petrochemicals) for use in their fabric, DuPont™ Sorona®.  Tate and Lyle acquired Italian company, Cesalpinia, a producer of natural flavors, natural gums and stabilizers. Tate & Lyle acquired US specialty food ingredients company Continental Custom Ingredients (CCI) a recognized leader in dairy stabilizers and emulsifier systems. A wholly-owned venture fund, Tate & Lyle Ventures was set up to invest in start-ups and expansion-stage companies. Tate & Lyle acquired an 80% holding in German specialty food ingredients group G. C. Hahn & Co (Hahn). 

Tate & Lyle sold its sugar business (EU operations), including the Lyle’s Golden Syrup brand, to American Sugar Refining, Inc (ASR) and ended its long association with refined sugar production. It also sold five European starch plants. Several new plants and facilities were built. With Gemacom Tech in Brazil, formed a joint venture called Tate & Lyle Gemacom Tech. The company acquired Winway Biotechnology Co Ltd, China its third polydextrose facility globally. Tate & Lyle turned 160 years old in 2019. In December 2020, Tate & Lyle acquired Sweet Green Fields (SGF), a leading global stevia solutions business.
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Lawrence Norris is President of Sporting Chance Press where he has produced Baseball’s Winning Ways, Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears Winning Ways, Pillars of the NFL, and other fine books.