This Week in Food History: The 1st Krispy Kreme Doughnut!

This week in food manufacturing history, we’ll travel back to the first Krispy Kreme doughnut, the birth of Orville Redenbacher, the invention of the Oscar Mayer wienermobile and an acquisition that changed the beer industry.

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This week in food manufacturing history, we’ll travel back to the first Krispy Kreme doughnut, the birth of Orville Redenbacher and an acquisition that changed the beer industry.

Donut worry, be happy!

If your usual morning drive into work includes enjoying a fresh, warm doughnut (or three) with your coffee, then this week’s food history report is for you.

On July 13, 1937, the first Krispy Kreme doughnut was sold in Salem, NC.

A gentleman by the name of Vernon Rudolph had bought a secret recipe from a New Orleans French chef and wanted to start selling the pastries to local grocery stores.

So he rented a building in what is now known as historic Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC, and began doing just that.

The scent of doughnuts cooking drifted through the streets, and passersby began stopping in to ask if they could purchase the hot doughnuts. It wasn’t long before Rudolph cut a hole in an outside wall of the building and started selling the Original Glazed doughnuts directly to consumers on the sidewalk!


Beloved beer

Seven years ago this week, on July 13, 2008, Belgian-based brewer InBev reached a deal to acquire Anheuser-Busch for nearly $50 billion.

This would create the world's largest brewer, which brands includes Budweiser, Michelob, Bush, Rolling Rock, Labatt, Bass, Whitbread, Beck's, Corona, Lowenbrau, St. Pauli Girl and Stella Artois. 

Now named Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company boasts more than 200 brands as of 2014 and total revenue was about $47 billion USD last year.

Popping in fame

What starts out as a kernel and with a little water and a lot of butter and salt turns into a perfect treat? Popcorn, of course!

And on July 16, 1907, the namesake behind the gourmet popcorn company Orville Redenbacher was born.

Orville Redenbacher was a popular salesman and got his start selling kernels from the back of his car. Today, he is the face of Orville Redenbacher Popcorn.

After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in agronomy, he began running a profitable fertilizer company and in his free time began to focus on creating the perfect popcorn. He eventually settled on a type and went into business with a gentleman by the name of Charlie Bowman.

The two named their new hybrid corn RedBow, but were soon persuaded to change the name by an advertising agency. The result, Orville Redenbacher, was nothing short of amazing.

After appearing on television commercials in 1972, Redenbacher Popcorn rose to fame. 

His business was bought by Hunt-Wesson Foods in 1976, but through a series of business buy-outs, it settled under the umbrella of food giant ConAgra, where it remains today.

Hot dog + car = ?

The iconic Oscar Mayer wienermobile was invented on July 18, 1936. 

What the heck is a wienermobile? It is a giant hot dog on wheels!

The vehicle was invented by Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, and was built by General Body Company in Chicago, Illinois.

The mobiles are 27 feet long and are used to promote and advertise Oscar Mayer products throughout the U.S. 

There are now a fleet of six, but the mobiles have evolved throughout the years. One of the earlier models is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Keep an eye out next week for more on Food History! You can find last week’s history here. If you know of an important date in food history that you would like to see featured, please email me at


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