If you’ve purchased a loaf of Nature’s Own or Wonder bread from a local grocery store, odds are that dough was baked in south Manatee County, at Flowers Baking Co. of Bradenton.
The bakery is a division of the Flowers Foods corporation, the second-largest maker of packaged bakery foods in the U.S., with 2015 sales of $3.8 billion.
Bradenton’s 105,000-square-foot Flowers bakery produces 2 million pounds of bread and buns each week, and goes through almost 59 million pounds of white and wheat flour and almost 6 million pounds of yeast every year.
The baking process is completely automated—from giant vats where the dough is mixed and allowed to rise to conveyor belts that slide the loaves through the proofing, baking and cooling process.
In addition to bread destined for grocery stores like Publix, the company supplies buns to fast food chains like Chick-Fil-A, Burger King and Arby’s.