This post is part of a series on some of the most memorable companies that have disappeared.
The number of brands associated with food processing giant Beatrice Foods was many and varied, including Airstream, Altoids, Avis, Blue Valley, Butterball, Culligan, Ekrich, Good & Plenty, Hunt's, Jolly Rancher, Krispy Kreme, La Choy, Meadow Gold, Orville Redenbacher, Peter Pan, Playtex, Reddi Wip, Samsonite, Swiss Miss, Tropicana, Wesson and World Dryer. Not bad for a small egg and milk packager in Beatrice, Nebraska, that in 1894 named itself after the former occupant of the building it leased.
In 1913 the company moved to Chicago, and by the 1930s it was a leading dairy in the U.S. The post-war baby boom was a boon for Beatrice, which doubled its sales between 1945 and 1955. Expansion continued through the 1970s, and by 1984, annual sales were about $12 billion.
Shortly thereafter, private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) acquired a controlling stake in Beatrice through a leveraged buyout. Over the next few years, KKR sold off Beatrice assets. In 1990, what remained of Beatrice was sold to ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG).
While Beatrice Foods may be gone (though a Canadian spin-off called Beatrice is still in business), its brands still can be found easily in supermarkets and stores around the world.
Let us know in the comments what you miss about Beatrice Foods. And be sure to check out other Companies That Have Vanished.