We shop, we eat, we hit the grocery stores at least once a week. We all have our favorite brands, but have you ever wondered how long they may have been around. The answers may surprise you and also tell you why they are still here and still popular. So here are some of the food and beverage brands that we are all familiar with, but maybe not how long they have been around.
Campbell Soups – 1869 – Campbell’s was started in 1869 by Joseph A. Campbell, a fruit merchant from Bridgeton, New Jersey, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer from South Jersey. They started by producing canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, soups, condiments, and minced meats. Thanks to MIT chemist John Dorrance, Campbell’s was one of the first companies to develop a commercial method for condensing soup, and success was born. Campbell’s was so successful its brand eventually included Pepperidge Farm’s breads, cookies, and crackers, Franco-American’s gravies and pastas, V8 vegetable juices, Swanson broths, and Godiva’s chocolates. Talk about “mmm mmm good!”
Del Monte – 1886 – Nope they didn’t start with pineapple or fruit cocktail. The company actually began in 1886 supplying coffee to fancy restaurants in Monterrey, California. They began canning fruit in 1892 and their first was peaches. After that the company grew in San Francisco employing 2,500 people and putting out over 200,000 cans of fruits and vegetables a day. Today they are still one of the top companies in the country.
Oscar Mayer – 1883 – German immigrant Oscar Mayer began his company in 1883 in Chicago, Illinois, and with his brother began selling bratwurst, liverwurst, and other meat products that were popular in the predominantly German neighborhoods in the area. Success meant more “Americanized” products such as sausages, hams, bacon and hot dogs followed. Though Oscar Mayer remained an independent company owned primarily by family members of the Mayer brothers who started it for nearly a century, it was sold to General Foods in 1981. Since General Foods merged with Kraft in 1989, Oscar Mayer is now one of Kraft Heinz’s many subsidiaries.
Coca Cola – 1886 –It all began in 1886 when pharmacist John Pemberton created it. The drink was originally advertised as a brain tonic to relieve headaches and exhaustion. It contained ingredients from the kola nut, including caffeine, and cocaine. Asa Griggs Candler bought it in 1888 making it famous. It dialed up its free sampling and was also bottled for the first time and given its iconic contour packaging.
Nabisco – 1798 – Nabisco can trace its roots back to 1798, when they were the New York Biscuit Company. In 1898 they partnered with the American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company and merged over 100 bakeries to form the National Biscuit Company, which later became known as Nabisco. Today, the company is known for products such as Chips Ahoy!, Ritz Crackers, Oreos, and more. Philip Morris acquired Nabisco and merged it with Kraft Foods in 2000, but when Kraft split into snack foods and grocery items in 2012, Nabisco fell under the snack umbrella and became a subsidiary of Illinois-based Mondelēz International.
Pillsbury – 1869 – Charles A. Pillsbury bought a run down flour mill in 1869, put in the latest technology and created a profit-sharing plan for the company’s employees. Within 20 years, it was one of the largest, most successful mills in the world. As popular as the company became with it’s different products, it was what took place in 1965 that really made the company even more popular. That was the year folks got introduced to Pillsbury’s iconic Doughboy. Poppin’ Fresh.
Jell-O – 1897 – Gelatin, made from collagen extracted from boiled bones and other animal products, has been used since the 1400s. In 1897, a LeRoy, New York-based cough syrup manufacturer named Pearly Bixby Wait trademarked a combination of purified and powdered granulated gelatin, sugar, and flavoring called Jell-O. The first flavors were strawberry, raspberry, orange, and lemon. No word on when the first Jell-O shot was taken.
Folgers Coffee – 1872 – In 1850 William H. Bovee, the owner of the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills, built a mill that allowed him to sell pre-roasted, ground coffee. To help build his mill, Bovee hired a carpenter named James A. Folger. After a year, Folger set off to mine for gold and brought coffee samples with him, which he gave to grocery stores he encountered along the way. Folger returned to San Francisco in 1865, became a full partner, then went about buying out the other partners and renamed the company J.A. Folger & Co. in 1872
Jim Beam – 1795 – In the late 1700s, the Böhm family emigrated from Germany to Kentucky, changing their name to Beam. Johannes “Reginald” Beam, a farmer, began producing whiskey in the style that would eventually become known as bourbon, and sold his first barrel of corn whiskey, which he called Old Jake Beam, in 1795. Today the brand, one of the most popular bourbons in the world, is still produced at the same locale as it was back in 1795.
Now……the oldest continuous running food/beverage company in the USA……..
Baker’s Chocolate – 1764 – In 1764, John Hannon and Dr. James Baker started importing cacao beans and producing chocolate in Dorcester, Massachusetts, making them the oldest producer of chocolate in the United States. For 15 years, the duo produced chocolate under the company name Hannon’s Best Chocolate, but when Hannon went on a cacao-gathering trip to the West Indies in 1779, and never returned, Baker changed the company name to Baker Chocolate Company.
We hope you enjoyed this and if you want to find who some of the other “oldies but goodies” are when comes to food and beverages check out these two great web sites. Go to: https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/america-s-10-oldest-food-and-drink-companies-0 and also https://www.eatthis.com/oldest-food-brands-in-america/ In the words of Alton Brown “We wish you good eating.”