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- This article is about the food company and brand. For Franco-Americans (i.e., Americans of French descent) see French American.
The original Franco-American Food Company was founded by Alphonse Biardot, who immigrated to the United States from France in 1880. In 1886, he and his two sons opened a commercial kitchen in Jersey City, New Jersey, featuring the foods of his native country. The company proved a success, particularly with its line of canned soup and pasta, and it was acquired by Campbell's in 1915.
The Franco-American name was phased out over the next two decades for soup products and in the late-1990s for pasta products. However their product line was still sufficient enough to continue advertising well into the 1970s, with Barry Manilow performing their jingle "Who Can? Franco Ameri-Can". On November 18, 2004, Campbell's announced it was discontinuing the name for pasta products in favor of its own, "to boost sales of what had been Franco-American's canned SpaghettiOs, RavioliOs and regular spaghetti, along with beef, chicken and turkey gravy varieties sold in cans and jars."
SpaghettiOs was a widely known product of Franco-American, first sold May 16, 1965. SpaghettiOs are variously-sized rings of cooked pasta in a sweet tomato and cheese sauce, sold in cans. According to one account,[who?] Campbell's food chemist Ralph Miller was inspired by a signature dish of the company chef, sliced elbow macaroni in a soupy tomato sauce. "Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs," the refrain of the product's advertising jingle, became a meme in its own right. It was derived from the song, "Oh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again", and its original TV version was likewise sung by Jimmie Rodgers.
As of April 2008, the Campbell Soup Company continues to sell gravy under the Franco-American name, along with a small line of condensed soups that appear to be similar to soups sold under the Campbell's brand. As of December 2008, it appears that the soup line has been discontinued, but that the gravy line remains.
As of October 2009, it appears that the Franco-American brand now includes at least one pasta-based product—a “Spaghetti & Meatballs” product.