In 1855, Gustavus Swift founded a company primarily known as a meat packing business, but also selling a variety of grocery items and dairy products. These items included Swiftning shortening, Brookefield butter, Allsweet margarine and Brookefield cheese.
In 1954, Swift began to sell frozen turkeys under the label Butterball. In the 1960s, Swift started to enter into new fields, including petroleum and insurance. In 1973, the company created a holding company and named it Esmark. This holding company purchased Rapid-American Corporation and International Playtex in 1975.
In 1980, Esmark stopped engaging in the petroleum business by divesting its Vickers Petroleum. That same year, Mobil bought Vickers Petroleum from Esmark while Esmark’s fresh meat division became separated from the company and was later named Swift Independent Packing Co.
Esmark then proceeded to buy Norton Simon Incorporated in 1983 and was acquired by Beatrice Foods the following year. In 1988, ConAgra bought half of Swift’s shares and two years after, it bought Beatrice Foods.
In July of 2007, Swift and Company was acquired by JBS S.A., the largest processors of beef in South America and one of the largest exporters of beef in the world. JBS paid $1.5 billion for Swift and Company and the acquisition led to the consolidation of the two companies into JBS Swift Group. It also made the newly merged company the largest beef processing company worldwide.
Currently JBS Swift is a subsidiary of giant beef company JBS and is still one of the leading companies in the beef processing arena. The company has expanded its operations into countries such as Australia, China, Japan, Mexico and China. Aside from beef, which is its largest selling product, the company also markets processed, fresh, or value-added lamb and pork products.
Headquarters: Greeley, Colorado
Ownership Type: Private
No. of Employees: about 120,000
Geography: USA, Brazil, Italy, Uruguay, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Australia and some parts of Asia
Demography: processed beef, pork and chicken consumers
Swift®, Pilgrim’s®, Pierce Chicken®, WingDings®, LaHerencia®, Cedar River Farms®