Johnsonville Foods

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Johnsonville Sausage, LLC
Industry Food processing
Founded 1945
Founder Ralph F. Stayer
Alice Stayer
Products Sausage
Johnsonville "Beddar with Cheddar" from wellcome

Johnsonville Sausage is a sausage company headquartered in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.[1] Founded in 1945, it is one of the largest sausage producers in the United States[2] and the largest sausage brand by revenue in the United States.[3] Johnsonville sausage is available in more than 35 countries. Privately owned, the company has approximately 1,400 employees.[4]


In 1945, Ralph F. and Alice Stayer opened a butcher shop and named it after their hometown, Johnsonville, Wisconsin. The sausage made in their butcher shop came from an old family recipe, which originated from the family tree from 19th-century Austria.[5]

Corporate headquarters


Johnsonville Sausage produces a variety of sausage products, including: brats, grillers, Italian sausage, smoked-cooked links, breakfast sausage in fully cooked and fresh varieties, chicken sausage, meatballs and summer sausage.[6]


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, 400 more than the next largest company.[7]

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 Sausage 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.[8] 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.”[9]

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.[10]


External links[edit]