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Stouffers brand logo.svg
Stouffer's cooked Swedish Meatballs, June 2018.jpg
Stouffer's cooked Swedish Meatballs
Product typeFrozen food products
OwnerNestlé (1973)
CountryUnited States
Introduced1922; 99 years ago (1922)
Related brandsLean Cuisine
Previous ownersLitton Industries

Stouffer's is a brand of frozen prepared foods currently owned by Nestlé.[1] Its products are available in the United States and Canada. Stouffer's is known for such popular fare as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, ravioli, and salisbury steak. It also produces a line of reduced-fat products under the banner Lean Cuisine.


The Stouffer family business traces its roots to 1898 when James B. Stouffer and his son Abraham E. Stouffer started the Cottage Creamery Co.[2][3] at the Sheriff Street Market in Cleveland. In 1901, James's son Abraham E. Stouffer, at the age of 26, became vice president of the company.[4][5]

In 1905, the Stouffer family established and incorporated the Medina County Creamery Company in Medina, Ohio, with $20,000 in capital stock.[6]

James B. Stouffer died on November 23, 1908 at age 62 in Orlando, Orange County, Florida,[7] and Abraham took over the running of the company.

On January 11, 1912, The Medina County Creamery Company filed a change of address to Cleveland.[8] In 1914, the company had expanded and opened The Medina County Creamery Company Detroit, Michigan branch. By this period the creamery was the largest manufacturer and wholesaler of creamery products in the city of Cleveland with over 1,500 farmers supplying Stouffer's Medina County Creamery Co.[9]

In early 1920, Stouffer's lucrative creamery drew the attention of The Fairmont Creamery, now Fairmont Foods, the largest creamery company in the United States. In December 1920, Abraham Stouffer announced his company, The Medina County Creamery Co. of 2171 East 4th Street, Cleveland Ohio would merge with Fairmont Creamery Co. of Omaha, Nebraska through stock ownership.[10] Abraham E. Stouffer would continue as part of the merger and oversee the Cleveland plant until 1922.[11][12]

In 1922, Abraham E Stouffer took over one of the milk stands owned by his dairy company. The milk, buttermilk and sandwich store was in the southwest of the Cleveland Arcade (lower level) and turned it into a restaurant with his wife Lena Mahala Bigelow. The Stouffer Lunch System was an idea Abraham had in the years prior to selling the Medina County Creamery Co. in 1920.[13] The Stouffers converted the operation into a restaurant which served buttermilk, sandwiches, and Lena Stouffer's homemade dutch apple pie[14] (credited by some as the reason for the almost instant success of the restaurant).[15] They opened the first restaurant, called the Stouffer Lunch, in 1924.[16] As time went on, the couple continued the program of expansion with the assistance of their sons Vernon,[17] a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, and Gordon, who together led the reorganization of the business, taking it public as the Stouffer Corporation in 1929 with Abraham as chairman of the board.[14]

The year 1929 also marked the beginning of the company's effort to establish locations outside of Ohio with the opening of a restaurant in Detroit, Michigan, and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[citation needed] After Abraham's death in 1936 the company continued its program of expansion by opening its first restaurant in New York City[citation needed] and eventually began a program of diversification, entering the frozen food business in 1946.[citation needed] In 1960 the company, formally renamed Stouffer Foods Corporation in 1956, purchased its first hotel, the Anacapri Inn of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and, by the end of that year, the company was composed of three divisions: Stouffer Foods Corporation, Stouffer Hotels Corporation,[18] and Stouffer Restaurants Corporation.[citation needed] In 1961, Stouffer's opened two short-lived automated vending restaurants.[19] Stouffer's took over this complex of restaurants with the shared kitchen (Plaza Pavilion). In 1962 Stouffer's Disneyland hosted Plaza Pavilion, Tahitian Terrace, and French Market Restaurant.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] In 1967, Stouffer Corporation was purchased by Litton Industries for vertical integration purposes, when that company had a large share of the microwave oven market,[29] but in 1973, Litton sold Stouffer to Nestlé. In 1993, Nestlé announced its intention to sell Stouffer Hotels to New World Development Co Ltd whom at that time owned Renaissance & Ramada Hotel brands (The Stouffer Hotel brand was retired at the end of 1996) as part of a refocusing of the company on food products.[30] The transaction was complete by 1996.[29] Some Stouffer's Restaurants are now Select Restaurants.[31][32][33]

Legal dealings[edit]

In 1991, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint that Stouffer Foods had misrepresented sodium content in their Lean Cuisine entrees by stating that they were low in sodium. Stouffer's argued that the campaign had focused on good taste and controlled sodium, fat, and calories. They also argued that the sodium claim was relative, reflecting a lower amount of sodium, not necessarily that the entrees were low sodium. However, the Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission.[34]

In 2003, Applebee's sued Stouffer's for trademark infringement of their marketing term "Skillet Sensations" back in 1997. Applebee's had a line of "Skillet Sensations" of their own and claimed that it caused confusion for customers that believed the Stouffer's line was linked to theirs. The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of Applebee's.[35]

On March 14, 2011, a recall was placed on Lean Cuisine spaghetti and meatballs. Consumers reported finding pieces of plastic in their meals, and subsequently over 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) of the product were recalled.[36]

On March 10, 2016, a limited number of Stouffer's products were voluntarily recalled on the suspicion that they contained small pieces of glass.[37]


  1. ^ "FAQ". Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  2. ^ The Cleveland Directory Company's Cleveland City Directory. Cleveland Directory Company. 1901.
  3. ^ "The Cleveland Directory Company's Cleveland City Directory". Cleveland Directory Company. 27 January 1898 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ The Cleveland Directory Company's Cleveland City Directory. Cleveland Directory Company. 1901.
  5. ^ The Cleveland Directory Co.'s Cleveland (Cuyahoga County, Ohio) City Directory. Cleveland Directory Company. 27 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Cold Storage. Food Trade Publishing Company. 27 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  7. ^
  8. ^ State, Ohio Secretary of (27 January 2019). Annual Report of the Secretary of State, to the Governor of the State of Ohio for the Year. State Printer – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "West Liberty Street/South". Beyond the Storefronts. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  10. ^ "The Medina Sentinel. (Medina, Ohio) 1888–1961, December 24, 1920, Image 8". The Medina Sentinel. National Endowment for the Humanities. 1920-12-24. p. 8. ISSN 2376-161X. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  11. ^ "The American Produce Review". Urner-Barry Company. 27 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ "The Creamery and Milk Plant Monthly". National Milk Publishing Company. 27 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "FOOD: The Stouffer Boys". Time. 29 July 1940. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  14. ^ a b "STOUFFER, ABRAHAM E. AND STOUFFER, LENA MAHALA (BIGELOW)". The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. A joint effort by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society. 22 July 1997. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  15. ^ "STOUFFER FOODS". The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. A joint effort by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society. 22 July 1997. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  16. ^ Dougal, April S. (1994). Kepos, Paula (ed.). "Stouffer Corp". International Directory of Company Histories. Detroit: St. James Press. 8: 498–501. ISBN 1-55862-323-X – via and SLWA copy.
  17. ^ "Vernon Stouffer". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  18. ^ "J. Robert Thibaut; President of Restaurant Chain". Los Angeles Times. 7 May 1998.
  19. ^ Hughes, Glen (16 November 2015). "Automation, part II: the disappearing kitchen". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  20. ^ Strodder, Chris (1 July 2012). The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom. Santa Monica Press. ISBN 9781595808462. Retrieved 14 January 2017 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Livingston, Tom (11 January 2014). "Walt Disney's 1961 visit to the Cleveland Zoo". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Liberty Square Trivia - WDW RadioWDW Radio". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Quiz - Who Sponsors Disney - Answers (The "World" According to Jack)". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  24. ^ "14 Surprising Stories You've Never Heard About Disney's Adventureland". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  25. ^ " - A different look at Disney..." Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  26. ^ "French Market Restaurant, hosted by Stouffer's". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Tragic Tale of Latest Lost History at Disneyland..." Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Plaza Pavilion at Yesterland". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Stouffer Corporation". Ohio History Central. Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  30. ^ McDowell, Edwin (1 April 1993). "Nestle to Sell Its Stouffer Hotel Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  31. ^ Select Restaurants, Inc. This site may be hacked.
  32. ^ "Restaurant Project List". Edmund Stevens Associates. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Client List". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  34. ^ Andrews, J. Craig; Thomas J. Maronick (Fall 1995). "Advertising Research Issues from FTC versus Stouffer Foods Corporation". Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. 14 (2): 301–309. doi:10.1177/074391569501400211. JSTOR 30000137. S2CID 159075183.
  35. ^ "Applebee's sues over 'Skillet Sensations' label". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  36. ^ "Lean Cuisine Spaghetti and Meatballs Recall Due to Plastic Debris". Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  37. ^ "DiGiorno, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer's Products Recalled, Could Contain Small Pieces Of Glass". Retrieved 14 January 2017.

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