The company was founded as Libby, McNeill & Libby in Chicago, Illinois, by Archibald McNeill and the brothers Arthur and Charles Libby. The business began with a canned meat product, beef in brine, or corned beef. It became well-known when it began to package the meat in a trapezoid-shaped can starting in 1875.
By 1880, it had 1,500 employees in Chicago, and by the turn of the century there were about 2,000 employed, by which time it had expanded to the canning of fruits and vegetables. Libby's came under the control of Swift & Company in the 1920s, but later became independent again. One of the best known executives of Libby's was Charles Scott Bridges who in 1947 was made a director of the company and in 1953 became Libby's president and chief executive officer. Libby's expanded and modernized during his presidency, including extensive production of frozen foods.
By 1960 Libby's had 9,000 employees and annual revenues of $296 million, and ranked 154th in size among U.S. corporations.
In the 1970s, Libby's had a successful television advertising campaign featuring their jingle, "When it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it, on your table, table, table.".
In 1982, Libby's canned vegetable business was acquired by S.S. Pierce (now Seneca Foods) and its canned fruits business was acquired by California Canners and Growers; Seneca later acquired the canned fruit business Niagara Trading Company acquired a license for the Libby's name on canned pineapple in 1983. ConAgra acquired the canned meats division in 1998. In 2010, Tequesta Foods acquired the Libby's license for nectars and in 2014 for creamers and macaroni-and-cheese. Corlib Brand Holding is the owner of the Libby's trademark since the early 2000s.
Before and after World War II, Libby's had canning operations outside the United States in Belgium and France, at Leer in northern Germany, and in the UnIted Kingdom.
In 2015 Peaty Mills plc. acquired the Libby’s brand rights for preserved foods in the UK, Eire and Portugal with the exceptions of Corned Beef, Pumpkin and Fruit Juices. The brand rights for Fruit Juice in the UK are held by Refresco .
2009 canned pumpkin shortage
In November 2009, Libby's announced that because of poor weather on its Illinois pumpkin farms and a depleted back stock, a canned pumpkin shortage was likely as Thanksgiving approached. Libby's accounts for the vast majority of canned pumpkin production in the United States, and the shortfall prompted Libby's to establish farms in multiple states as a hedge against another mass shortage like the one that happened in 2009.
- http://www.conagrafoods.com/consumer/brands/brand_info.jsp?cookietest=true&page=libbys ConAgra history
- http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2751.html Encyclopedia of Chigago history
- http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/exhibits/panam/food/libbys1.html 1901 promotional material
- Nestle and Unit In U.S. Set Deal To Acquire Libby
- Libby to Sell Canning Business
- Libby To Sell Fruit, Vegetable Businesses In US
- Niagara Trading
- Seneca's History
- LIBBYS. zumo, vitaplus, nectar, naranja, piña, melocoton, platano, zanahoria, tomate, catchup. ketchup, canarias, guayaba, fresa, manzana, sin azucar, fruta, dieta, canarias, tenerife, las palmas, leche, salud, multifruta, mango, albaricoque, tropica...
- Severson, Kim (November 17, 2009). "Libby's Warns of a Canned Pumpkin Shortage". NYTimes.com.
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