Kraft Foods



Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods is the second largest food and beverage company in the world.
Chicago businessman name James L. Kraft started the company in 1903 by pioneering innovations in the wholesale distribution of cheese.

His four brothers joined him in 1909, and they incorporated the fledging business as J. L. Kraft & Bros.

Who is James Lewis Kraft?James Lewis Kraft was born on a dairy farm near Stevensville, Ontario, Canada on 11 December 1874. He was the second of eleven children. His parents were Mennonites, carrying on the tradition of his father, Jacob Boehm (ca. 1693-1781). James was educated locally and worked nearby at Ferguson’s general store in Fort Erie starting at the age of eighteen.


James Kraft moved to Buffalo, where he invested in a cheese company. Later, he moved to Chicago, IL to manage a branch of the company and while there, his partners eased him out of the business. Stranded in Chicago with only $65. in capital, he obtained a horse and wagon and he purchased cheese wholesale each day and then resold the cheese to local merchants.


The new venture was successful and by 1909, several of his brothers had joined the company as permanent employees (Charles H., John H., Fred, and Norman). In that year, the business was incorporated under the name of J. L. Kraft & Bros. Co., with James L. Kraft as the president.


Kraft developed a revolutionary process, patented in 1916, for pasteurizing cheese so that it would resist spoilage and could be shipped long distances. The company grew quickly, expanding into Canada in 1919. Over the years, Kraft introduced many innovative products and used progressive marketing techniques to make his company one of North America’s leading food producers.


James Kraft was also noted for his philanthropic contributions. He helped create one of the first major television programs, the “Kraft Television Theater,” which ran from 1947 until 1958. He also supported the Baptist Church and was a strong proponent of religious education for young people. He gave a large portion of his wealth to religious organizations over the years and he was once quoted as saying, “The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.”


BusinessKraft used innovative and aggressive advertising techniques to promote his line of 31 varieties of cheese, becoming of the first food companies to use color advertisements in national magazines.

The company opened its first cheese factory in 1914.

Until Kraft entered the business, cheese was produced in large wheels and had a tendency to spoil quickly when cut because most grocers and consumers had no access to refrigeration.

Thus problem inspired Kraft in 1915 to produce a blended, pasteurized cheese that he marketed in metal containers as “process cheese.”

The sale of six million pounds of cheese to the US Army during World War 1 insured the fortunes of the company.

The company changed its name to Kraft Cheese Company in the 1900s soon after merging with the Phenix Cheese Corporation, the maker of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese (introduced in the United States in 1872).

In 1928 the company introduced Velveeta pasteurized processed cheese spread and Miracle Whip salad processing, adding Kraft caramels in 1933.

Kraft now famous macaroni and cheese dinner was introduced in 1937 and Parkay margarine entered the limelight in 1940.

Once again, the company benefited when it became a major food supplier to the Army during World War 11.

Cheez Whiz was launched in 1952, individually wrapped cheese slices in 1965, and Light n’ Lively yoghurt in 1969.
New Phase
Because of a shrinking tobacco market, the Phillip Morris purchased General Foods in 1985. Kraft was added to its corporate holdings in 1988 followed by the purchase of Nabisco in 2000.

Despite being the country’s largest packaged food company, with hundred of brands analysts say that Kraft has failed in recent years to introduced innovative and successful products.

To reduce the bureaucracy and streamline the food company, Kraft has eliminated thousands of jobs and closed numerous plants and it is divesting itself of brands such as Life Savers, Altoids mints and Milk Bone Dog Snacks.

In 2006 Irene B, Rosenfeld, chairwoman and chief executive of Frito Lay North America, was hired as chief executive.

Upon assuming her position, she announced a new executive team to build a Kraft that is more aggressive, agile and imaginative and that will focus more intensely on consumers’ evolving food and beverage needs.

Kraft Foods

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Reuters: Business News