The History of Kraft Foods

Perhaps no other food company has invented as much as Kraft Foods has.

Kraft Food
Kraft Food Products. David McNew/Getty Image
  • 1765: A Dorchester, Massachusetts, physician, Dr. James Baker, went into partnership with an Irish chocolate-maker, John Hannon and made America's first chocolate mill.
  • 1780: The mill made the famous BAKER'S chocolate.
  • 1880: The Empire Cheese Company of New York began producing PHILADELPHIA BRAND Cream Cheese for a New York distributor called Reynolds.
  • 1882: Isaac and Joseph Breakstone (Breakstone Bros) opened a small dairy store on New York City's Lower East Side.

  • 1883: The now famous Oscar F. Mayer and his brothers Gottfried and Max started a meat market in Chicago.
  • 1889: Food salesman, William M. Wright created a new baking powder called CALUMET® which he made at night and sold during the day.
  • 1892: A coffee blend was developed by Joel Cheek for the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, called MAXWELL HOUSE coffee.
  • 1946: MAXWELL HOUSE instant coffee was introduced to the American public after it was used by the armed forces in World War II.
  • 1895: In Battle Creek, Michigan, C.W. Post made the first POSTUM®, a cereal beverage. Post created GRAPE-NUTS® cereal in 1897, and POST TOASTIES® corn flakes in 1908.
  • 1897: Pearl Wait adapted an 1845 patent for a gelatin dessert. May Davis Wait named the new product JELL-O brand gelatin. In 1899, Orator Francis Woodward bought the trademark rights to JELL-O® for $450. Woodward launched the advertising campaign for "America's most favorite Dessert" in 1902.
  • 1903: J.L. Kraft started a wholesale cheese business in Chicago.
  • 1905: YUBAN coffee blend was created by John Arbuckle.
  • 1906: Oscar Mayer is one of the first meatpackers to obtain the Federal Meat Inspection stamp of approval.
  • 1907: Legend claims that when President Theodore Roosevelt was served a cup of MAXWELL HOUSE coffee and he proclaimed that it was "GOOD TO THE LAST DROP."
  • 1914: J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co. opened their first cheese factory in Stockton, Illinois, within a year they begin producing process cheese in tins. The U.S. government provided cheese in tins for the armed forces during World War I.
  • 1921: Louis Rich bought a truck and started his business in Rock Island, Illinois.
  • 1927: Edwin Perkins created a powdered fruit drink called KOOL-ADE, later called KOOL-AID. Perkins created KOOL-AID from his first product the popular soft drink syrup called Fruit Smack.
  • 1927: The same year the Postum Company marketed SANKA decaffeinated coffee (first sold in the U.S. in 1923).
  • 1928: Kraft introduced VELVEETA process cheese.
  • 1933: Kraft introduced MIRACLE WHIP salad dressing at Chicago's Century of ProgressWorld's Fair.
  • 1936: "Little Oscar and the WIENERMOBILE" started the advertising campaign for Oscar Mayer & Co.
  • 1937: KRAFT Macaroni and Cheese Dinner was introduced with the advertising slogan of "Make a meal for 4 in 9 minutes."
  • 1949: MINUTE Rice was nationally distributed.
  • 1950: KRAFT Deluxe process cheese slices, the first commercially packaged sliced process cheese was introduced.

  • 1952: CHEEZ WHIZ pasteurized process cheese spread was introduced.
  • 1954: Kraft introduced CRACKER BARREL brand natural cheese.
  • 1957: The General Foods Corporation introduced TANG, breakfast beverage crystals.

     

  • 1963: The now famous wiener jingle first appeared in Oscar Mayer commercials.

     

  • I965: The company introduced SHAKE 'N BAKE coating mix in two versions, chicken and fish.

     

  • 1966: COOL WHIP nondairy whipped topping was introduced.

     

  • 1972: STOVE TOP stuffing mix was introduced.

     

  • 1973: GENERAL FOODS INTERNATIONAL COFFEES flavored coffees were introduced.

     

  • 1981:General Foods Corp. bought Oscar Mayer & Co.
  • 1983: Kraft introduced LIGHT N' LIVELY lowfat yogurt, the first US yogurt in a six-pack.

     

  • 1985: General Foods Corporation is bought by Philip Morris Companies Inc.

     

  • 1986: Kraft purchased Tombstone Pizza Corporation of Medford, Wisconsin (est.1962).

     

  • 1988: Kraft, Inc. was bought by Philip Morris Companies Inc. Oscar Mayer introduced LUNCHABLES.
  • 1989: Philip Morris Companies combined Kraft, Inc. and General Foods Corporation to form Kraft General Foods, the largest food company in the U.S.

     

  • 1989: DI GIORNO brand refrigerated pastas and sauces were introduced.

     

  • 1993: Kraft General Foods acquired NABISCO ready-to-eat cold cereals from RJR Nabisco.

     

  • 1995: Kraft General Foods was renamed Kraft Foods, Inc. DI GIORNO RISING CRUST pizza was introduced.[

     

  • 1996: BREAKSTONE'S snack-size cottage cheese, the first four pack of 4 ounce cups.

     

  • 1997: POST Cranberry Almond Crunch and POST Honey Nut Shredded Wheat cereal was introduced.

     

  • 1997: Sparkling White Grape flavored JELL-O gelatin was introduced in celebration of the brand's 100th anniversary.

     

  • 1998: STOVE TOP OVEN CLASSICS were introduced. The same year KRAFT introduced EASY MAC macaroni and cheese dinner, a microwavable, single-serve product.