Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Happened to Hunt Foods?

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

For many years, the Hunt Foods (later Hunt-Wesson) processing plant was one of the main employers of the City of Fullerton. The plant is now gone, but what is most interesting to me is the story of how a small business started in 1890 by two brothers (Joseph and William Hunt) eventually became part of the conglomeratization of the food industry in America, as so many small agricultural farms and businesses have. I remember driving through the Wisconsin countryside with my grandpa Glenn, and hearing him speak in elegiac tones about how most of the small farmers got swallowed up by big corporate farms. Here’s how the Hunt story goes:

1890: Joseph and William Hunt form Hunt Brothers Packing Company
1943: Hunt Brothers Packing Company merges with Val Vita to form Hunt Foods
1956: After a series of mergers and acquisitions, Hunt Foods becomes Hunt Foods and Industries
1960: Hunt Foods and Industries merges with Wesson Oil to form Hunt-Wesson
1968: Hunt-Wesson merges with Canada Dry and McCall Corporation to form Norton Simon Inc.
1983: Norton Simon Inc is acquired by Esmark, Inc
1990: Esmark is acquired by ConAgra, one of the largest agri-businesses in the world.

Source: Fullerton: A Pictorial History (170-171), 1994 ed.

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Mmmm...I love Hunt's on my Spanish beef-rice.

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