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, thus ushering the era of psychological marketing.
  • 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.
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    Your Citation
    Bellis, Mary. "The History of Kraft Foods." ThoughtCo, Nov. 3, 2017, Bellis, Mary. (2017, November 3). The History of Kraft Foods. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The History of Kraft Foods." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 20, 2018).