Most Innovative Companies #7: Beaverton Foods, Inc.

Over the next two weeks, we'll be counting down some of the most innovative industrial companies covered in-depth by and its sister publications throughout 2013.

#7 is Beaverton Foods, Inc., which we picked because of its ability to remain flexible, specializing in small-batch recipes and the ability to change the facility to a new process in record time. By staying small, and innovating on hundreds of product formulas and bottling styles, they can concentrate on quality and distinct flavor.

Beaverton Foods, Inc. is currently the largest processor of specialty mustards in the country and operates out of a 70,000-square-foot food processing facility in Hillsboro, Ore., shipping about 30 million units per year. But its beginnings are much more humble.

The company can trace its roots to 1929 and to Rose Biggi, an Italian immigrant who moved to Beaverton, Ore., as a teenager and soon found herself working with a most unfamiliar crop: horseradish. Rose began grinding and bottling horseradish root in her farmhouse basement. She sold her product store-to-store and often bartered throughout the Great Depression.

As the economy improved, so did business, and the Biggis soon had a growing operation on their hands. Under the leadership of her son, Gene, the company began making specialty mustards. Up to that point, the specialty mustard market in the U.S. was primarily an import business. Beaverton Foods aimed to offer a smaller-quantity, local product that mimicked the quality and flavor of imports. In order to keep up with the market, Gene soon became what his son Domonic calls a “mustard connoisseur.”

Domonic Biggi is now the CEO of Beaverton Foods, the third generation of Biggis to head up the growing company. But while operations have certainly scaled up over the years, the company’s commitment to quality and to small batch processing has remained consistent.

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See the rest of's Most Innovative Industrial Companies For 2013.