A look at the company's rich history through the years.
In 1916, company founder James Lewis Kraft received a patent for making processed cheese, which involved continuously whisking cheddar heated at 175 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. “This invention relates to an improved process of sterilizing cheese to render it permanently keeping, and to the product thereby produced,” Mr. Kraft wrote in his patent, “Process of Sterilizing Cheese and an Improved Product Produced by Such Process.” Individually wrapped Kraft Singles came much later — in 1965.
Oscar Mayer & Co. signed an agreement with Walt Disney Productions to sponsor a branded restaurant at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in 1971. In addition to sponsoring the restaurant, which had a turn-of-the-century design and served upscale cuisine, according to reports, Oscar Mayer supplied meat products for other restaurants and food service outlets in the Magic Kingdom. Menu items included a Monte Cristo sandwich, chopped steak and crepes jambalaya. An item called Weiners a la Oscar featured two Oscar Mayer wieners with baked beans and coleslaw.
Nineteen of Kraft’s brands are more than 100 years old, dating back to the debut of Grey Poupon Dijon mustard in 1777. Oscar Mayer was introduced in 1883, Maxwell House launched in 1892, and Jell-O first appeared in 1897.
Kraft in a merger with Dart Industries Inc. in 1980 acquired the Duracell brand. Dart & Kraft, Inc. spun off most of its non-food businesses and changed its name to Kraft, Inc. in 1986. Two years later, Kraft, Inc. sold the batteries business to Duracell Holdings Corp., an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and became an all-food company for the first time in more than three decades.
In Canada, the company sells a line of Kraft peanut butter in such flavors as chocolate, honey, banana granola peanut, and cinnamon granola.
Through Feeding America, Kraft has provided more than 1 billion servings of food to those in need since 1997. The company’s employees also help maintain a garden in Chicago to provide fresh produce for local food pantries and Women, Infants and Children centers.