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October 21, 2019

Griffith Foods: 100 Years of Innovation & Global Outreach

We’re handing over the blog this week to share the story of our parent company, Griffith Foods. They turned 100 this year and we couldn’t be more excited to part of the celebration. Privately held and focused on the long-view, they focus on doing what’s right for customers, employees, and the food industry. Their reputation speaks for itself--premier product quality and dependability, a foundation for differentiation, and a global curiosity to discover new opportunities. Truly, it’s the reason we’re so compatible.


In the early 1900s, Enoch Luther (E.L.) Griffith and his son, Carroll Ladd (C.L.), are offered a tremendous opportunity by a family friend nearing retirement: to assume leadership of his small pharmaceutical business. FOR FREE! This generous offer changed the life path for C.L., who planned on attending the University of Illinois to study agriculture. Instead, he enrolled at Northwestern University School of Pharmacology and began to dive deeper into his love for the world of science.

By 1919, E.L. had a grasp on the market opportunities and needs and presented a new vision for the company. Griffith is established with a focus of “bringing science to the food industry” and begins making better meat and bakery products. The core capabilities centered on enhancing flavors, improving functionality, creating faster and more efficient processing, reducing costs, and introducing safer alternatives. Using new technologies and building personal customer relationships, the company also initiated the now-legendary “customization approach” and set the foundation for future industry advancements.

But the innovation was just getting started. By the 1920s, Griffith Foods was proving that diverse innovations would meet changing product needs. Specialty flours were used in sausages, German quick curing meats were processed using Prague Salt, liquid seasonings, and new processes for meat pumping. New equipment was introduced in the 30s, including The Big Boy Pump, Prague Pickle Scale, Ham Press, Prague Powder, dry soluble seasonings, and specialized antioxidants. Mince Master equipment line, Vacugas process for sterilization, soy protein concentrates in powder form, and natural smoke flavors came along in the 50s and 60s, along with the introduction of culinary arts to influence development efforts.

By the 70s, 80s and 90s, Griffith Foods had not only proved themselves to be an innovator in the field, but one that led with a consumer-first mindset. This led to Unit Paks to offer processors and foodservice operations optimized batching and back-of-house efficiencies, HVP flavor extensions, Flava Glaze for BBQ, authentic liquid blends, unique coating systems with increased durability, and functionality in baked and fried applications. And in the 2000s, the Culinary-based Technovations programs were introduced, in addition to seasonal flavor programs, yield management technologies, salt/sodium substitutes, MSG replacers, acid buffering blends, Listeria inhibitors, shelf stable creams, and many more. Whew, it's a lot, but more importantly, it's who they are.

The focus on innovation and expansion hasn’t slowed. Custom Culinary® and Innova® Flavors joined the family and immediately benefited from the significant investments in culinary capabilities, including a state-of-the-art Culinary Center at the Alsip headquarters and in Europe, plus new facilities in Brazil, China, and Spain and India. All to provide customers with additional creative and artistic resources for their product development efforts. This was when we were able to add our liquids facility in Avon, Ohio, focused on production of sauces and soups and with the many culinary centers around the world, we have the opportunity to widen our net even more to work alongside our valued customers, suppliers, and business partners to create winning food products across the globe.

It’s an exciting time for Griffith Foods and we’re excited to be part of it all. If you’d like to know more about their story, products, and capabilities, be sure to stop by their website. Of course, if you have any questions or wonder how we work together, you can always drop your inquiry here. Until then, be true to the food!

Bo Chhay
Manager, Insight & Communication
Custom Culinary, Inc.