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Celebrating Lakeside Foods

Lakeside Foods products being sold at a local store in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Lakeside Foods1 / 3
In 1942, Lakeside Foods could pack only some of its products in cans, as steel and tin were reserved for use in armaments. A glass jar production line at the Manitowoc plant is pictured here. Photo courtesy of Lakeside Foods2 / 3
Pea vines were fed into machinery that would separate the peas from the vines and pods. Photo courtesy of Lakeside Foods3 / 3

MANITOWOC, Wis. — Lakeside Foods Inc. is celebrating 130 years of business.

Lakeside Foods began in 1887 in Manitowoc, Wis., when Albert Landreth, a seed grower from Pennsylvania, recognized that Wisconsin soil produced superior quality peas and began canning the vegetable out of the kitchen of a small hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Soon the one-kitchen operation grew into Wisconsin's first canning plant. A partnership with the University of Wisconsin's College of Agriculture led to advancements in quality control, establishing Lakeside's reputation as a leader in innovation.

In 1906 Landreth's interests were sold to the Wisconsin Pea Canners Company which, in 1922, became the Lakeside Packing Company. Today, the company known as Lakeside Foods, has grown to 11 sites located in: Belgium, Manitowoc, New Richmond, Poynette, Random Lake and Reedsburg, Wis.; and Brooten, Owatonna and Plainview, Minn.. The corporate office remains in Manitowoc.

Growth

Throughout its history, Lakeside has been known for its ability to produce, innovate and deliver quality products and service. In the early 1900s Lakeside tried a new approach to its operations by contracting with local farmers to grow its crops, a practice still used today to ensure quality and freshness. The post-war decades saw innovations in automated farm equipment and commercial fertilizers which the company leveraged to continuously improve production and product quality.

In the early 1980s, Lakeside entered the more complex frozen vegetable market to expand its growth potential. Originally sold as a consumer brand, Lakeside changed its marketing approach to private label production during the 1950s, marketing its products under the customer's label. Since then, the company has continued to expand in the retail and foodservice businesses and continues to diversify into other sectors with partnerships producing whipped topping and high-quality pet foods.

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