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Stouffer's

Stouffer's

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Stouffer's is a brand of frozen prepared foods
Frozen food
Freezing food preserves it from the time it is prepared to the time it is eaten. Since early times, farmers, fishermen, and trappers have preserved their game and produce in unheated buildings during the winter season. Freezing food slows down decomposition by turning water to ice, making it...

 available in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Stouffer's is known for such popular fare as meatloaf
Meatloaf
Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat formed into a loaf shape and baked or smoked. The loaf shape is formed by either cooking it in a loaf pan, or forming it by hand on a flat baking pan...

, salisbury steak
Salisbury steak
Salisbury steak is a dish made from a blend of minced beef and other ingredients, which is shaped to resemble a steak, and usually is served with gravy / brown sauce. Hamburger steak is a similar product, but differs in ingredients....

, lasagna
Lasagna
Lasagna is a wide and flat type of pasta and possibly one of the oldest shapes. As with most other pasta shapes, the word is generally used in its plural form lasagne in Italy and the U.K. Traditionally, the dough was prepared in Southern Italy with semolina and water and in the northern regions,...

, macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and cheese, also known as "mac and cheese", "macaroni cheese" in British English, or "macaroni pie" in Caribbean English, is a casserole consisting of cooked macaroni and cheese sauce...

, and ravioli
Ravioli
Ravioli are a traditional type of Italian filled pasta. They are composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough and are served either in broth or with a pasta sauce. The word ravioli is reminiscent of the Italian verb riavvolgere , though the two words are not...

. It also produces a line of reduced-fat products under the banner Lean Cuisine
Lean Cuisine
Lean Cuisine is a brand of frozen entreés and dinners sold in the United States, Canada, and Australia by Nestlé. The brand began as low fat, low calorie versions of Stouffer's products. Today Lean Cuisine includes traditional dinners, ethnic dishes, pizzas, whole grain Spa Cuisine entreés, and...

.

History


Stouffer's was founded by Abraham and Lena Stouffer as a small coffee shop in 1922. They had a farm 28 miles south of Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

 in the township of Richfield, Ohio
Richfield, Ohio
Richfield is a village in Summit County, Ohio, United States. The population was 3,286 at the 2000 census. The village and the adjacent Richfield Township are approximately equidistant between the downtown areas of Akron and Cleveland...

. In later years, sons Vernon
Vernon Stouffer
Vernon B. Stouffer, owned a national chain of restaurants, motor inns, and food-service operations and the Cleveland Indians from 1966-72. He played a key part in developing frozen foods and microwavable foods. His company Stouffer's was valued at $21.5 million when it was merged with Litton...

 and Gordon expanded it to a chain of restaurants in Cleveland, Detroit
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, New York City and Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

. In the 1950s and 1960s, Stouffer's operated restaurants in Chicago's Prudential Building
Prudential Financial
The Prudential Insurance Company of America , also known as Prudential Financial, Inc., is a Fortune Global 500 and Fortune 500 company whose subsidiaries provide insurance, investment management, and other financial products and services to both retail and institutional customers throughout the...

, which at the time was Chicago's tallest structure. They included the Gibraltar Room, The Plaza Room, The Beaubien Room and the Top Of The Rock on the 40th floor. Vernon Stouffer was a longtime resident of Lakewood, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb. He was active in Cleveland area civic affairs and owned the Cleveland Indians baseball team in the 1970s.

The family's frozen food business began in the 1940s, when customers started asking for frozen versions of the meals served in the restaurants. By 1954, demand had grown to the point the kitchens couldn't keep up, and the Stouffers opened a small processing plant to handle the volume. This operation was separately incorporated in 1956, and began selling to supermarkets a few years later. The Stouffers sold their company to Litton Industries
Litton Industries
Named after inventor Charles Litton, Sr., Litton Industries was a large defense contractor in the United States, bought by the Northrop Grumman Corporation in 2001.-History:...

 in 1967, who in turn sold it to Nestlé
Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

in 1973. Nestle Foods has created a campus-like area at the headquarters in Solon, Ohio. In 1975, Nestle Stouffer's built a food plant which, at that time, was the tallest refrigeration storage facility. In 1990, Nestle built a 5-story complex across the street from Stouffer's. In 2009, Nestle Professional, the foodservice division, opened a culinary R&D research facility, where new food ideas are explored. Stouffer's has a thrift store where the public can buy Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine products at reduced cost.

Packaging changes in 2009


Stouffer's began changing packaging for cooking foods, mainly in family size meals such as lasagna, from PET trays to paperboard trays in late 2009. The company made the move to reduce the impact on the environment, by reducing the amount of PET material dumped into the nation's landfills annually.

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