Sargento Foods, Incorporated is considered to be the biggest cheese company in the state of Wisconsin. It is also one of the major producers of cheese in the United States. Its headquarters is located in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
The company’s founder is Leonard Gentine, Sr. He started the business in the year 1953, together with Joseph Sartori, his business associate.
In 1955, Leonard Gentine was able to invent a method to vacuum pack cheese in order to preserve its freshness. In 1958, Sargento Foods pioneered the market and distribution of shredded cheese. In 1965, Joseph Sartori sold his shares of stock to his business partner, thus making the company a wholly owned family business.
In 1969, the company introduced the peg bar system of merchandising and changed the way cheese was normally sold in stores. This is where packed cheese products are placed on peg bars at eye level, making it easier for customers to reach the products. Ten years later, Sargento Foods created their Food Service Division in order to produce cheese for their restaurant and other foodservice company customers.
In 1986, Sargento Foods introduced the re-sealable zippered retail packaging. Two years later, the company was the first to introduce a cheese snack to the market. In 1991, it again introduced another novel product, the reduced fat cheese. This product was introduced in seven varieties, making it a hit to health conscious consumers.
Sargento Foods was awarded the ‘Best Tasting Cheese’ in the industry in 2003 for its shredded cheese product. In 2005, Sargento Cheese became more popular when the Green Bay Packers football team made it the team’s official cheese.
In 2006, Sargento Foods introduced its limited edition cheese products and in 2007, it introduced its line of artisan cheeses. In 2008, the company entered into the produce line with its salad and potato finishers.
Currently, Sargento Foods Incorporated operates in three divisions, namely: Consumer Products, Food Ingredients, and Food Service. Aside from marketing and distributing its private labels to a number of retail stores nationwide, the company also supplies cheese products that are custom made for food service companies and restaurants. It currently operates facilities in different parts of Wisconsin namely: Plymouth, Hilbert, Elkheart Lake and Kiel.
Company headquarters: Plymouth, Wisconsin
Ownership: Private, family owned
No of Employees: 1,300 (as of 2010)
Demography: restaurant and food service operators, value and quality shoppers