Definitions

water beech

Beech-Nut

[beech-nuht]
For the Beechnut tree, see Beech.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation is a baby food company that is currently owned by the Swiss branded consumer-goods firm Hero group.

History

Beech-Nut's roots go back to 1891, to the Mohawk Valley town of Canajoharie, New York. It was founded there as The Imperial Packing Company; its first product was Beech-Nut ham. Ham and bacon were the company's main products for its first seven years.

The company was incorporated as the Beech-Nut Packing Company in 1899. In 1900 the company's sales were $200,000. Engineers from Beech-Nut patented the first vacuum jar with a design that included a gasket and top that became a standard of the industry and could remain intact in transit.

During the first 25 years of the 20th century, the company expanded its product line into peanut butter, jam, pork and beans, ketchup, chili sauce, mustard, spaghetti, macaroni, marmalade, caramel, fruit drops, mints, chewing gum, and coffee.

In 1931, Life Savers Limited acquired Beech-Nut.

In 1968, Squibb Beech-Nut Corp. was spun off from Olin Mathieson. In 1973, part of the company, selling only baby food, was sold to a group led by lawyer Frank C. Nicholas. In 1977, Beech-Nut Food Corporation became the first baby food company to have an entire product line without added salt.

Nicolas sold the company to Nestlé in 1979.

In 1987, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation paid fines and costs totally $2.2 million, the largest amount ever, for violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by selling artificially flavored sugar water as apple juice. John F. Lavery, the company's vice president for operations was convicted in criminal court and sentenced to a year and a day in jail; Niels L. Hoyvald, the president of the company, also convicted, served six months of community service. Each of them also paid a $100,000 fine.

In 1989 Ralston Purina acquired Beech-Nut from Nestlé.

By 1997, all Beech-Nut products became free of added refined sugar.

Milnot Holding Corporation, one of the portfolio of companies owned by the private equity investment firm Madison Dearborn Partners, acquired Beech-Nut from Ralcorp Holdings (a spin-off of Ralston Purina) in 1998.

In 2002, Beech-Nut became the first baby food manufacturer to produce a line of baby food with DHA and ARA, two essential fatty acids found naturally in breast milk.

In 2005, Madison Dearborn sold Milnot, and Beech-Nut along with it, to the Swiss branded consumer-goods firm Hero Group.

In 2007, Beech-Nut announced its intentions to move all of its manufacturing and corporate operations to Florida, New York by fall 2009.

External links and references

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