This Week in Food History: The Merger That Created PepsiCo

This week in food manufacturing history, we'll take a look at the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay, a patent for the manufacture of soft surface cured cheese, and the first long distance transport of frozen foods.

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This week in food manufacturing history, we'll take a look at the merger of Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay, a patent for the manufacture of soft surface cured cheese, and the first long distance transport of frozen foods.

The Great Merger

On June 8, 1965, the Pepsi-Cola Company merged with Frito-Lay, Inc. to form the food industry giant we know today — PepsiCo, Inc.

Frito-Lay got its start back in the early 1960s when two separate companies, The Frito Company and H.W. Lay & Company, merged together to form Frito-Lay, Inc. It was only four years later that Frito-Lay, Inc. merged together with Pepsi-Cola Company.

And since that time, Frito-Lay continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo. It is through its Frito-Lay brand that PepsiCo has become the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world.

Also see last week's article: This Week in Food History: Why is the Rum Gone?!

Getting Krafty

The founder and president of Kraft Foods Inc. (earlier known as J.L. Kraft & Bros. Company), James Lewis Kraft, was the first person to patent processed cheese.

After immigrating from Ontario to Chicago in 1903, Kraft began selling cheese from a horse-drawn wagon with four of his brothers. By 1914, the company opened its first cheese manufacturing plant in Stockton, Ill.​ He soon developed a process for pasteurizing cheese so that it wouldn't spoil and could even be shipped long distances. 

It didn't take long for the company to grow, expanding to Canada in 1919. And during World War I, Kraft saw a large increase in business because the U.S. government was providing cheese in tins to the armed forces overseas.

He served as the company's president from 1909 until 1953. And it was on June 9, 1953, that Kraft received a U.S. patent No. 2,641,545 for the manufacture of soft surface cured cheese.

Going the extra mile

On this day, June 10, 1869, frozen food was shipped a long distance inside the U.S. for the first time. 

A shipment of Texas beef had been processed by refrigeration equipment and needed to be transported to New Orleans, so a steamship Agnes delivered it there successfully.

The meat was then served as meals in different hospitals and restaurants throughout the area. 

Keep an eye out next week for more on Food History! If you know of an important date in food history that you would like to see featured, please email me at kari.imberg@advantagemedia.com

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