Are you a fan of Oscar Mayer bacon? Have you ever wondered who owns the company behind this beloved breakfast staple?
Look no further, because we’ve got the answers for you.
From humble beginnings as a small meat market in Chicago to becoming the top-producing bacon brand in the country, Oscar Mayer has come a long way. But who is behind this iconic brand?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the ownership of Oscar Mayer and how it has evolved over time.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of Oscar Mayer bacon.
Who Owns Oscar Mayer Bacon?
Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation, the company behind the famous Oscar Mayer bacon, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods Incorporated. Kraft Foods, in turn, is a subsidiary of Philip Morris Companies.
The company was founded by Oscar F. Mayer, who arrived in America from Bavaria in 1873 at the age of 14. After working in various meat operations, Mayer and his brother Gottfried opened their own shop in Chicago in 1883. The store sold $59 worth of meat on its first day of operation.
Over time, the company grew and expanded its product line to include hot dogs and lunch meats. Today, Oscar Mayer is the top-producing bacon brand in the country and contributes more than $1 billion to Kraft Foods’ annual revenue of $18 billion.
The Early Days Of Oscar Mayer
Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation has a rich history that dates back to 1883. The company was founded by Oscar F. Mayer and his brother Gottfried, who rented a failing meat market on Chicago’s north side and opened their own shop. On the first day of operation, the store sold $59 worth of meat.
Oscar Mayer had learned the meat business from top to bottom, working in the stockyards of Armour & Co., as well as in a series of retail meat operations over the next few years. In hopes of starting a family business, he wrote home suggesting that his brother Gottfried learn the art of sausage-making as an apprentice in Germany. Gottfried followed his older brother’s advice, and they began their journey in the meat industry.
The company continued to grow over the years, helped by the popularity of wieners at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It was Mayer’s son — also named Oscar — who told his father about a small meat-packing plant on the outskirts of Madison that he’d learned about on visit with his in-laws. The company purchased the plant in 1919, mostly because it was cheap and available. It was also closer to farmers, which would cut down livestock transport costs.
But more than just a business opportunity, the company soon took an active part in the community and in the lives of its workers. With homes scarce in a tight rental market, Oscar Mayer built 50 affordable homes for workers. They also paid for the extension of the streetcar to the plant to help employees get to work. By 1920, Oscar Mayer’s Madison plant had become the fifth-largest packing plant in the country.
In 1936, Oscar Mayer introduced what would become its most famous promotion: the Wienermobile—a car shaped like a hot dog that cruised the streets of Chicago. In 1948, Oscar Mayer introduced the first self-service meat package, which was sold in supermarkets. Also in that year, the company introduced the “Slice Pak” process, which produced sliced cold cuts sealed in transparent packages with metal bases.
By the early 1960s, Oscar Mayer was the leading U.S. manufacturer of processed meats. In the 1970s, Oscar Mayer expanded into the pickle and turkey industries by acquiring C.F. Claussen and Sons in 1970 and the Louis Rich Company in 1979.
For nearly a century, Oscar Mayer remained an independent company owned primarily by descendants of Oscar and Gottfried Mayer. However, in 1981, the company was acquired by General Foods. In 1985 General Foods was in turn acquired by Philip Morris Companies, which three years later also acquired Kraft USA. In 1989 Philip Morris merged the two divisions to form Kraft General Foods. The name was changed to Kraft Foods in 1995.
Today, Oscar Mayer continues to produce high-quality bacon and other meat products under Kraft Foods’ ownership. Despite changes in ownership over time, Oscar Mayer has remained committed to providing tasty and innovative products for its customers while also being involved in its communities and taking care of its employees.
The Rise To Bacon Dominance
Oscar Mayer’s rise to bacon dominance began in 1924 when the company became the first to slice and package bacon for retail sales. The company’s headquarters for bacon manufacturing is located in Coshocton, Ohio, where the bacon goes through the stages of curing, brine and sugar, smoking in real hardwood, and finally packaging.
In 1973, Oscar Mayer promoted the use of the package “back window” so customers could see the quality of the meat. This attention to quality has helped to establish Oscar Mayer as the gold standard of bacon. Today, Oscar Mayer is the market share leader in every category in which it competes, including luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon, pickles, and lunch combinations.
Oscar Mayer’s focus on innovation has also contributed to its success. In the 1990s, the company created new product categories such as light and fat-free luncheon meats and lunch combinations. The Lunchables brand became a dominating force in the lunch combinations market.
Within the bacon category, Oscar Mayer is the clear leader with the #
Ownership Changes Throughout The Years
Throughout its history, Oscar Mayer has undergone several ownership changes. In the late 1970s, CEO Robert Hiegel led a diversification program that resulted in the acquisitions of processed turkey leader Louis Rich, Inc., and of Chef’s Pantry Inc., a food service company with mainly industrial customers.
In 1981, Oscar Mayer was bought by General Foods Corporation, and its name was changed to Oscar Mayer Foods Corp. After Philip Morris Companies, Inc. acquired both General Foods in 1985 and Kraft Inc. in 1988, Oscar Mayer became part of Kraft General Foods, Inc., the subsidiary created by combining the two food giants.
For much of the 1980s, Oscar Mayer was the star performer for General Foods, largely on the strength of its Louis Rich business, whose revenue doubled to $600 million between 1979 and 1987. Today, Oscar Mayer is owned by the Kraft Heinz Food Group and remains a top producer of bacon, hot dogs, and lunch meats.
Kraft Heinz Acquisition And Current Ownership
In 2015, Kraft Foods Group merged with H.J. Heinz to form Kraft Heinz Company. This merger was financed in part by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and private equity firm 3G Capital, who invested $10 billion in the deal. As a result of the merger, Heinz returned to the public market with a 51% ownership of Kraft, while current holders of Kraft stock owned 49% of the company. The new company had revenue of about $28 billion, with eight brands worth more than $1 billion each and five worth $500 million-$1 billion each.
Today, 42% of the common stock of Kraft Heinz is owned by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway. Two members of the Kraft Heinz board are partners and/or board members of 3G Capital, and the CFO is a partner of 3G Capital. The CEO has investments in a 3G sponsored fund, and there was an announced change in the CFO position which will be in effect in March 2022. While Berkshire Hathaway has two board seats, they are not directly involved in day-to-day operations.
It is important to note that 3G Capital has a history of operational excellence and deep sector expertise. However, recent events at Kraft Heinz have raised questions about whether management’s interests align with investors. In February 2019, Kraft Heinz announced a $15.4 billion write-down of its critical Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands, as well as a sharp reduction in its quarterly dividend and an SEC investigation into its accounting. This resulted in more than $16 billion vanishing from the company’s market cap and a flurry of unpleasant questions about what the future may hold for both Kraft Heinz and 3G Capital.
What The Future Holds For Oscar Mayer And Bacon Lovers Everywhere
As the bacon industry continues to evolve, Oscar Mayer is keeping up with the times by offering new and innovative products. From bacon-infused hot dogs to bacon-scented shoelaces, the brand is constantly finding new ways to appeal to bacon lovers everywhere.
In addition to its current offerings, Oscar Mayer is also exploring the possibility of creating plant-based bacon alternatives to appeal to the growing number of consumers looking for meatless options. This move is in line with Kraft Foods’ larger strategy of expanding its plant-based product line, which includes brands like Boca and Gardenburger.
Furthermore, Oscar Mayer is also making efforts to reduce its environmental impact by implementing sustainable practices in its production processes. The company has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2025 and has also made strides in reducing water usage and waste.