Kraft Foods Group
Global food and snacks company.
Three Lakes Dr.
Northfield, IL 60093
CEO: Tony Vernon
Stock Symbol: KRFT
Kraft Foods Group is one of North America's largest consumer packaged food and beverage companies, with annual revenues of more than $18 billion. The company's iconic brands include Kraft, Capri Sun, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Lunchables, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Planters and Velveeta.
Kraft's portfolio of products are in the beverage, cheese,
refrigerated meals and grocery categories, primarily in the United
States and Canada.
The company's Kraft, Oscar Mayer and Maxwell House brands each generated over $1 billion in sales a year. The company has 25 brands that generated over $100 million yearly in sales.
In 2013, Kraft reported revenues of $18.2 billion, down 0.3% from 2012. Net earnings were $931 milllion.
The company signed a licensing agreement in August with Keurig Green Mountain. With this new agreement, consumers in the U.S. can enjoy their favorite Kraft coffee brands, Maxwell House, Gevalia and Yuban, along with McCafé, in a variety of licensed Keurig cup packs.
In 1903, 29-year-old James L. Kraft moved to Chicago, where he started selling cheese to grocers from a horse-drawn wagon. In his previous job as a clerk at a grocery store in his native Ontario, Canada, Kraft had learned first-hand that cheese was a highly perishable and unpredictable commodity. Now in business for himself, Kraft knew his success depended on offering cheese with consistent flavor and freshness.
In order to get the best cheese, Kraft made sure he was the first in line each day at the South Water Street market in downtown Chicago. After carefully selecting his cheese, the enterprising Kraft made personal calls to grocers, who liked the service because it saved them a trip to the wholesale market. To enhance his growing reputation, Kraft began to package cheese under the Kraft name - one of the first to take cheese from a commodity to a branded product.
Six years later, four of Kraft's brothers joined him, and they incorporated the business under the name of J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co., with J.L. Kraft as president. While the company was a success, Kraft began working on ways to improve certain qualities in cheese so that it would have longer store life and more consistent flavor. In 1911, the company expanded its offices and set up a makeshift laboratory to experiment with blending various cheeses, cooking temperatures, and mixing methods to produce high-quality products with a longer shelf life.
By 1915, Kraft discovered that if he heated and continuously stirred the cheese then placed it in a sterile container, when the cheese cooled, it would regain its solid state. Later that year, Kraft introduced process cheese in four-ounce tins, and with its consistent quality and improved shelf life, the product became an immediate success. The process cheese created such a demand that Kraft had to add new production areas and plants. In 1916, a patent for the "Process of Sterilizing Cheese and an Improved Product Produced by Such Process" was issued to Kraft. This patent marked a major milestone for Kraft, achieving his goal of revolutionizing the production of cheese.
In 1988, Kraft, Inc. is acquired by Philip Morris Companies Inc., making Philip Morris the world's largest consumer products company. The Kraft division would be combined with General Foods and Nabisco.
In 2001, Philip Morris offered shares in Kraft in an IPO.
In 2007, Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris) officially spun off Kraft Foods as an independent company.
The company merged its cereals business with Ralcorp for about $2.6 billion in August 2008.
Kraft Foods became Mondelez International in October 2012 and spun off its North American grocery foods business into a separate company called Kraft Foods Group.
Mondelez International is the world's largest chocolatier, biscuit baker and candy maker, and the second-largest maker of gum. The company's brands include Cadbury, Jacobs, LU, Milka, Nabisco, Oreo, Tang and Trident. It has headquarters in Northfield, IL with 100,000 employees worldwide.
Kraft Foods Group became an independent company when it was split from Kraft Foods in 2012 with Mondelez International.
Updated October 15, 2014