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Did you know that Stouffer’s is 100 years old?

    Stouffer's is 100 years old

    You are accustomed to Stouffer’s brand when you pass the freezer aisle. Did you know the brand has been for over 100 years? The Stouffer’s started as a humble restaurant in Cleveland in 1922. Their homemade foods mushroomed in popularity and more restaurants sprouted throughout the surrounding area and beyond. There is a rich history with the Stouffer’s brand. From Cleveland to outer space, Stouffer’s aimed high.

    With growing popularity, the family went on to open a chain of restaurants. Customers began asking for takeaway versions of their favorite meals. The Stouffer family began freezing and selling their popular items. By 1954, the family had founded the frozen food operation. You bring this family heritage home every time you put a Stouffer’s meal in your shopping cart.

    stouffers logo

    By the mid-1950s the company had grown into a nationwide industry. In addition to the restaurant chain’s expansion, Stouffer’s was selling partially cooked, take-home meals that reduced meal preparation to 30 minutes. In 1953 this led to Stouffer’s production of frozen foods at a plant on Woodland Ave. By 1956 its frozen food products were distributed throughout the East and West coasts. In 1966 this operation was moved to SOLON. In 1967 Stouffer Foods merged with Litton Industries, a California-based conglomerate whose Atherton Division supplied microwave ovens for commercial food service. Litton was then sold to Nestle S.A., the Swiss-based food-processing giant, in 1980.

    Stouffer's is 100 years old

    Starting in the late 1950s, Stouffer’s aimed higher—literally—by colonizing the sky with more than a dozen swanky restaurants atop skyscrapers. This included Top of the Sixes at 666 Fifth Avenue in New York (which is now infamously owned by Jared Kushner’s family), where the restaurant occupied the 39th floor—the highest restaurant in America when it opened. Stouffer’s also opened atop the 62-story U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, the Top of the Hub in Boston, the Top of the Rock in Chicago, the Top of the Rockies in Denver, and the revolving Top of the Riverfront in St. Louis. At the same time, Stouffer’s menu moved from the Midwest to self-described “continental fare,” with entrées like “Filet of Sole, East Indienne,” and tomato bouillon with watercress whipped cream.

    Stouffer's is 100 years old

    Mixing it with Stouffer’s

    In 1950, Stouffer’s published Here’s How! by Stouffer’s, a spiral-bound, 100-page cocktail recipe book for customers. (Inexplicably, the cover features pink roses against a deep blue background.) “This booklet is a result of the demand for an unveiling of the mixed drink recipe secrets, which guests have told us they enjoy so much at Stouffer’s,” read the introduction. “All of these recipes follow the actual Stouffer’s formulas to assure drinks of delectable goodness.”

    Stouffer’s isn’t exactly space food, but NASA fed Stouffer’s to astronauts who had just arrived back on Earth and were in mandatory quarantine. Astronauts on Apollo 11, 12, 13, and 14 ate Stouffer’s foods during their quarantines (which lasted for at least 2 weeks), and Stouffer’s proudly touted the endorsement in their advertisements.

    Today, the Stouffer’s brand remains devoted to bringing families together around a table of delicious food.