Stouffer's

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Stouffer's
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; 101 years ago (1922)
Related brandsLean Cuisine
Markets
Previous ownersLitton Industries
(1967–1973)
Websitegoodnes.com/stouffers

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 Lean Cuisine brand name. In February 2023, Nestle Canada announced their intentions to wind down and exit the frozen meals and pizza business within the next six months. [2]

History[edit]

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

In 1905, the Stouffer family established the Medina County Creamery Company in Medina, Ohio.[6]

James B. Stouffer died on November 23, 1908, at age 62 in Orlando, Florida, and Abraham took over the running of the Medina County Creamery.

On January 11, 1912, the Medina County Creamery Company filed a change of address to Cleveland.[7] By 1914, the company had expanded and opened a branch of the Medina County Creamery Company in Detroit. By the mid-1910s, the creamery claimed to be the largest manufacturer and wholesaler of creamery products in the city of Cleveland, supplied by over 1,500 farmers.[8]

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 that the Medina County Creamery Company would merge with Fairmont Creamery Company of Omaha, Nebraska through stock ownership.[9] As part of the merger, Abraham Stouffer would oversee the Cleveland plant until 1922.[10][11]

In 1922, Abraham Stouffer and his wife Lena Mahala Bigelow took over one of the company's milk stands, on the lower level of the Cleveland Arcade, and converted it into a restaurant serving buttermilk, sandwiches, and Lena Stouffer's homemade Dutch apple pie[12] (credited by some as the reason for the almost instant success of the restaurant).[13]

Abraham had reportedly had the idea for the "Stouffer Lunch System" before 1920.[14] They opened the first restaurant, called the Stouffer Lunch, in 1924.[15] As time went on, the couple continued the program of expansion with the assistance of their sons Vernon,[16] 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.[12]

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 another 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 1956 the company was formally renamed Stouffer Foods Corporation.

In 1960 Stouffer 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,[17] and Stouffer Restaurants Corporation.[citation needed] In 1961, Stouffer's opened two short-lived automated vending restaurants.[18] Stouffer's took over this complex of restaurants with the shared kitchen (Plaza Pavilion). In 1962 Stouffer's Disneyland operated the Plaza Pavilion Restaurant,[19][20] the Tahitian Terrace,[20] and the French Market Restaurant.[21] As of 2007, Stouffer's operated the Liberty Tree Tavern in Walt Disney World's Liberty Square.[22]

In 1967, the Stouffer Corporation was purchased by Litton Industries for vertical integration purposes, when that company had a large share of the microwave oven market,[23] but in 1973, Litton sold Stouffer to Nestlé. In 1993, as part of a refocusing of the company on food products,[24] Nestlé announced its intention to sell Stouffer Hotels to the New World Development Company (which at that time owned the Renaissance and Ramada hotel brands). The transaction was complete, and the Stouffer Hotel brand was retired, by the end of 1996.[23] Some Stouffer's Restaurants are now Select Restaurants.[25]

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.[26]

In 2003, Applebee's sued Stouffer's for a 1997 trademark infringement of Applebee's marketing term "Skillet Sensations." 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.[27]

On March 14, 2011, a recall was placed on Lean Cuisine spaghetti and meatballs after consumers reported finding pieces of plastic in their meals.[28] On March 10, 2016, a number of Stouffer's products were voluntarily recalled on the suspicion that they contained small pieces of glass.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FAQ". Stouffers.com. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  2. ^ https://canadiangrocer.com/nestle-canada-announces-wind-down-and-exit-frozen-meals-and-pizza-business?fbclid=IwAR2nyM_hG5nY0JnqSyItcdJLOkP3t36JrcP3MAU1r7OB-mwuUUjPIhVg8e8&mibextid=S66gvF. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "The Cleveland Directory for the year ending July 1899". Cleveland Directory Publishing Company. 1898. p. 234.
  4. ^ The Cleveland Directory for the year ending August 1902. Cleveland Directory Company. 1901. p. 1194.
  5. ^ The Cleveland Directory for the year ending August 1904. Cleveland Directory Company. 1903. p. 280.
  6. ^ "Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal". Food Trade Publishing Company. December 1905: 107. Retrieved 2022-12-21. Medina: J.K. Arnold, J.B. Stouffer, W.W. Watson, George Boult and T.H. Boult have incorporated the Medina County Creamery Company with $20,000 capital stock. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Charles H. Graves (1913). Annual Statistical Report of the Secretary of State, to the Governor of the State of Ohio for the Year ending November 15, 1912. Springfield: Springfield Publishing/State Printers.
  8. ^ "West Liberty Street/South". Beyond the Storefronts. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  9. ^ "Medina Creamery joins Omaha firm". The Medina Sentinel. Medina, Ohio. 1920-12-24. p. 8. ISSN 2376-161X. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  10. ^ "New York Produce Review and American Creamery". New York: Urner-Barry Company. 1920-12-29.
  11. ^ "Reorganizations". The Creamery and Milk Plant Monthly. National Milk Publishing Company. 10 (1): 41. January 1921.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "FOOD: The Stouffer Boys". Time. 1940-07-29. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  15. ^ April S. Dougal (1994). Paula Kepos (ed.). "Stouffer Corp". International Directory of Company Histories. Detroit: St. James Press. 8: 498–501. ISBN 1-55862-323-X.
  16. ^ "Vernon Stouffer". uh.edu. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  17. ^ "J. Robert Thibaut, President of Restaurant Chain (obituary)". Los Angeles Times. 1998-05-07.
  18. ^ Jan Whitaker (2015-11-16). "Automation, part II: the disappearing kitchen". Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  19. ^ Chris Strodder (2012). "Plaza Pavilion Restaurant". The Disneyland Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Santa Monica Press. ISBN 9781595808462. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  20. ^ a b Werner Weiss (2020-08-28). "Plaza Pavilion". yesterland.com. Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  21. ^ Al Lutz (2008). "N-E-S-T-L-E-S; Time to go with all the rest". MiceChat.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  22. ^ Lou Mongello (2007-09-17). "Liberty Square Trivia". Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  23. ^ a b "Stouffer Corporation". Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  24. ^ Edwin McDowell (1993-04-01). "Nestle to Sell Its Stouffer Hotel Unit". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  25. ^ "Client List". designdevelopment-group.com. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  26. ^ J. Craig Andrews; Thomas J. Maronic (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.
  27. ^ "Applebee's sues over 'Skillet Sensations' label". Nation's Restaurant News. FindArticles.com. Retrieved 18 March 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Lean Cuisine Spaghetti and Meatballs Recall Due to Plastic Debris". AboutLawsuits.com. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  29. ^ Associated Press (2016-03-10). "DiGiorno, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer's Products Recalled, Could Contain Small Pieces Of Glass". cbslocal.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.

External links[edit]