Case Studies in King Size:
The Birth of National Brands

The next time you pick up a gingersnap, saltine, graham cracker or sugar wafer, pause a minute.

From The Nabisco Story: dedicated to cookie-eating children around the world, may their numbers increase.
This section discusses the stories behind some of our most well-known national food companies. The food industry, like all industries of the Gilded Age, was founded by businessmen with the help of lawyers and laws favorable to the new corporate system.

New York vs. Chicago
The National Biscuit Company was formed as a result of a battle for cracker territory. As larger and more commercial bakeries rose up in the 1880s, they consolidated to try to grow larger and have more products and therefore profit. By 1890, The New York Biscuit Company in the east and the American Biscuit & Manufacturing Company in Chicago were in an economic battle whose ammunition was graham crackers, lemon drops, oyster crackers and gingersnaps.(45) Price wars and battles for territory benefited no one, except maybe the consumer. In order to stop the chaos, the two companies, with the help of seasoned business lawyers, decided to merge into one national company in 1898.

The meeting took place in New Jersey because that state was especially hospitable to companies seeking mergers. Some states were traditionally hostile to "foreign" corporations originating in other states. Under the provision of the New Jersey legislature it was specifically stated that, "The corporation is to have the power also to conduct business in other states and in foreign countries." 56

The merger was front page news around the country: "All the biscuit and cracker companies between Salt Lake City on the west, Portland, Maine, on the east, and St. Louis and New Orleans in the south, will tomorrow morning be under one management." New York Times The corporation merged 114 bakeries with 400 ovens and the capacity to consume 2,000,000 barrels of flour a year, and to produce 360,000,000 pounds of crackers annually.

Soup Is Good Food
Much of early canning was dedicated to fairly simple products: fruit, vegetables and seafood preserved as is. In 1897, John T. Dorrance, a chemist whose family owned a small cannery, began to experiment with concentrated soups. By 1898, his family had put to market canned consomme, vegetable, tomato, oxtail, and chicken soups.... Campbell's was born. (Root:191)

57 Varieties
Henry J. Heinz was raising horseradish in his back yard and began peddling it to neighborhood grocers. Soon he was putting up pickles, then ketchup, and then relishes. Soon he realized hi had 57 varieties of product. (Root:191)

Pillsbury - impt b/c of flour; flour is impt, what happened to flour


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