Nabisco Brands, Inc.

Nabisco Brands, Inc. was a multinational food and beverage company focusing mainly on biscuits, crackers, cookies, confectionery, canned produce and condiments. It was based in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Early History


Nabisco Brands trace its roots back in 1898, where the United States-based bakeries underwent a major consolidation, from a regional consolidation. American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company--based in Chicago, New York Biscuit Company and the United States Baking Company were Nabisco's predecessors, which altogether possess a combined total of 114 bakeries across the nation. Theses three companies were merged to form the National Biscuit Company. The company was headquartered in New York.

After the consolidation, the president of National Biscuit Company -- Adolphus Green of American Biscuit and Manufacturing Company, asked Frank Peters to create a package to distribute products in huge amounts. This paved its way for In-Er Seal package, whose logo is a prototype for the "Nabisco Thing". This In-Er Seal package is a system of interfolded wax paper and cardboard to "seal in the freshness" of the product. This was first used for Uneeda Biscuits.

Early 20th century

Planters Nut and Chocolate Company was formed in 1906 after Amedeo Obici and Mario Peruzzi revolutionized a system for blanching and roasting peanuts. In 1916, the company opened a contest for creating a mascot for its brand of peanuts--Planters Roasted Peanuts, and a 14 year-old Virginia boy won the contest by creating a peanut with arms and legs, later enhanced by the company to have a monocle, a top hat and a cane, and called it Mr. Peanut.

N.B.C. — as the company referred to itself then — innovated its product line to compete with more aggressive rivals, especially the [Sunshine Biscuit Company] , formed by former N.B.C. directors. It developed Barnum's Animal Crackers in 1902, then Lorna Doone and Oreo in 1912.

In 1924, N.B.C. tried to improve its sales of its products by adding a direct sales force, selling products, specifically "Peanut Sandwich Packet" and "Sorbetto Sandwich Packet," in soda fountains, road stands, milk bars, lunch rooms and in news stands.

The company then used the term NAB (NAtional Biscuit) for most of its products, while some were using the term NABISCO, the earliest being 1901. The former term was generally accepted and became a household name, particularly in the Southeast United States.

N.B.C. acquired Shredded Wheat Company and Christie, Brown & Company (Canada's major baked goods maker) in 1928. N.B.C. acquired F.H. Bennett Company (maker of Milk-Bone dog biscuits) in 1931. In 1934, RITZ Crackers were introduced.

In 1945, Standard Brands, Inc. launched the first active dry yeast in the market, Fleischmann's yeast.

The proto-type logo used in the In-Er Seal package was altered and changed into a red triangular logo with the Nabisco name imprinted in it, after 41 years of using the term for its products, and that logo was used in 1952.

Late 20th century

In 1963, N.B.C. launched Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookies to compete with Nestle's Toll House Cookies, and as a reaction to the convenience trend. The company modernized its outdated bakeries, and in 1971, became Nabisco, Inc.

In 1981 Nabisco merged with Standard Brands, maker of Planters nut products, and separately acquired Life Savers, from the E.R. Squibb Corporation, and the Curtiss Candy Company, makers of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth. The company was then renamed Nabisco Brands, Inc.

In 1985 Nabisco was bought by R.J. Reynolds, forming RJR Nabisco. Nabisco became the food division of the company, acquiring the Del Monte Corporation arm of the tobacco firm.

Ross Johnson, Nabisco's CEO, became the CEO of the tobacco firm, and, in turn, ousted all of the executives that were against Johnson.

To focus on the core businesses, RJR sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken fastfood business to PepsiCo in 1986 and Heublein wines and spirits business to Grand Metropolitan in 1987.

Leveraged buyout

After three years of mixed results, the company became one of the hotspots in the '80s leveraged buyout mania. The company was in auction with two bidders: Ross Johnson himself and Kolberg Kravis Roberts. RJR Nabisco was in turn bought out in 1988 by Kolberg Kravis Roberts in the biggest leveraged buyout in history.

After this, in 1988, RJR sold its Chun King division, and also Del Monte Corporation's fresh produce division, which later became Fresh Del Monte Produce.

In 1989, RJR sold the North and South American Del Monte processed food operations.

In 1990, RJR sold the Curtiss Candy division to Rowntree, now Nestle, which owns the Baby Ruth and Butterfinger brands. RJR also sold LU, Belin and other European biscuit brands to Groupe Danone, only reunited in 2007 after Nabisco's present parent, Kraft Foods, bought Danone's biscuit operations for EUR 5.3 billion.

In 1994, RJR sold its breakfast cereal business (primarily the Shredded Wheat franchise) to Kraft Foods and the international licenses to General Mills, which later on became a part of the Cereal Partners Worldwide joint venture with Nestle. In 1994 also RJR acquired KNOX Gelatin.

In 1995, RJR sold Ortega Mexican-style foods, and acquired Kraft Foods' tablespreads operations, which includes Parkay, Touch of Butter and Chiffon brands.

In 1997, RJR sold Egg Beaters egg substitutes, and Parkay, Touch of Butter, Chiffon, Fleischmann's, Move Over Butter and Blue Bonnet tablespreads to ConAgra, its College Inn broth business to Del Monte Foods and also its Venezuelan Del Monte operations.

Nabisco acquisition

In 2000 Philip Morris Companies acquired Nabisco Holdings; that acquisition was approved by the Federal Trade Commission subject to the divestiture of products in five areas: three Jell-O and Royal brands types of products (dry-mix gelatin dessert, dry-mix pudding, no-bake desserts), intense mints (such as Altoids), and baking powder. Kraft later purchased the company.

After four years, the sugar confectionery unit was sold to Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, and the branding of the cookie products as Nabisco products became limited to North America (except Canada, where all snacks were branded Christie).

Other brands

* A1 steak sauce
* Aylmer canned fruits and vegetables
* Baby Ruth candy bars
* Barrel Head rootbeer (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Beech-Nut chewing gum
* Blue Bonnet margarine
* Bonkers! chewy candy
* BreathSavers candy
* Brer Rabbit pancake syrup, corn syrup and molasses
* Bubble Yum bubble gum
* Butterfinger candy bars
* Canada Dry carbonated soda (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Care*Free sugarless gum
* Charleston Chew candy bars
* Chase & Sanborn Coffee
* Chiffon margarine
* Chun King Chinese-style canned foods
* College Inn broth
* Cott carbonated soda (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Cream of Wheat and Cream of Rice hot cereal
* Davis baking powder
* Del Monte canned produce, fruit juices, desserts and meals
* Dromedary dates, pimiento peppers and cake mixes
* Dr. Ballard's dog food
* Egg Beaters egg substitute
* Escoffier sauces
* Fleischmann's margarine, corn oil and yeast
* Grey Poupon mustard
* Hawaiian Punch drinks
* Jackson and Perkins roses and garden plants (sold 1986)
* Junior Mints candy
* Kentucky Fried Chicken (sold 1986)
* Life Savers candy
* Merckens chocolate
* Milk-Bone cat biscuits
* Milk-Bone dog biscuits
* My*T*Fine puddings and pie fillings
* Morton frozen foods (sold 1986)
* No Cal carbonated soda (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Ortega Mexican-style foods
* Parkay margarine
* Patio Mexican frozen foods (sold 1986)
* Planters salted snacks and nuts
* Pom Poms caramels
* Regina vinegars and cooking wines
* Royal desserts, puddings and gelatin
* Shredded Wheat cereal (and variants Frosted Wheat and Fruit Wheats)
* Shreddies cereal
* Smiths salted snacks
* Smirnoff vodka (part of its Heublein division, sold 1987)
* Snap-E-Tom tomato and chili cocktail
* Steak Supreme steak sauce
* Sunkist carbonated soda (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Sugar Babies caramels
* Sugar Daddy caramel pops
* Tahitian Treat drinks (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Touch of Butter margarine
*Uneeda Biscuits
* Vermont Maid pancake syrup
* Walkers salted snacks
* Wink carbonated soda (part of its Cott carbonated soda division, sold 1986)
* Wright's Natural hickory seasoning
* Zip Firestarters

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