Johnsonville Foods

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Johnsonville Foods
Type Private
Industry Food processing
Founded 1945
Founder(s) Ralph F. Stayer
Alice Stayer
Headquarters Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.
Products Sausage
Johnsonville "Beddar with Cheddar" from wellcome

Johnsonville Foods is one of the largest sausage producers in the United States[1] and is headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.[2] The company was founded in 1945 by Ralph F. and Alice Stayer. Johnsonville is the largest sausage brand by revenue in the United States.[3] Its various bratwursts and sausages are sold in many grocery store chains nationwide, such as Albertsons, Bi-Lo, Giant Food, Kroger, and Safeway, many McDonald's restaurants, Wal-Mart, and enjoy a prominent presence in 7-Eleven and in 16 NFL stadiums.[4]

Corporate headquarters

Pork Production[edit]

In 2009, the National Pork Board ranked Johnsonville Foods first in sow slaughter capacity. The company had the facilities to slaughter 3,250 pigs every day, which was 400 more than the next largest company.[5]

Political activities[edit]

The company and its owners have a reputation for political involvement, and are widely known as supporters of conservative causes.[6] In 2010, members of the Stayer family figured prominently as contributors to the successful Wisconsin gubernatorial campaign of Republican candidate Scott Walker.[7] As a result, in 2011, opponents of Walker and his policies have called for a boycott of Johnsonville products.[8]

Animal Welfare Controversy[edit]

In March 2013, Johnsonville Foods came under public pressure to drop gestation crates when Wisconsin resident Gina Steussy started a petition asking Johnsonville Foods' CEO Ralph Stayer to stop sourcing pork products from suppliers that confine breeding pigs to cages that restrict their ability to turn around during the 4 month period of their pregnancy. The petition was supported by The Humane League and acquired over 73,000 signatures, gaining wide public attention.[9] Two months later, Johnsonville Foods posted on its website, “It is our moral and ethical obligation to ensure our animals are treated humanely at all times. As part of our active pursuit of enhanced handling practices, we will be working with our pork suppliers to transition from traditional gestation stall housing, to alternative pregnant sow housing, by 2025.”[10] With this decision, Johnsonville joined many other American pork purchasers such as Oscar Mayer, Jimmy Dean, McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and Denny's in pledging to phase out gestation crates.[11]


  1. ^ "The Pork Industry at a Glance". National Pork Board. 
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Johnsonville Sausage LLC" Bloomberg Businessweek.
  3. ^ "Bratwurst brand claims bragging rights as nation's top sausage" Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 21, 2005. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  4. ^ "Ralph Stayer, 92, Popularizer of Bratwurst, Dies," New York Times, June 27, 2007. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  5. ^ "The Pork Industry at a Glance". National Pork Board. 
  6. ^ Soglin, Paul Johnsonville Sausage Reheats Hot Topic accessed March 26, 2010
  7. ^ Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Campaign Finance Database accessed March 26, 2010
  8. ^ The case for boycotting Johnsonville Sausages and Metcalfe’s Hilldale Sentry accessed March 26, 2010
  9. ^ Steussy, Gina. "Johnsonville Sausage: Stop Being Cruel to Pigs!". 
  10. ^ "Johnsonville Foods Animal Welfare". Johnsonville Foods. 
  11. ^ "Oscar Mayer Sets Timeline for Eliminating Controversial Pig Cages from Pork Supply Chain". The Humane Society of the United States. 

External links[edit]