Gorton’s history started in 1849 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Gorton’s is a product of a merger between John Pew and Sons and Slade Gorton and Company, two companies that were engaged in the fishing industry. John Pew and Sons was founded in 1849 and Slade Gorton and Company was founded in 1874.
John Pew and Sons was engaged in fishery while Slade Gorton and Company was engaged in salt-drying fish and selling it to the market. The merger between the two companies happened in 1906, along with two other fishery companies in Gloucester. It was then named Gorton-Pew Fisheries.
In the 1930s, Gorton-Pew entered into the frozen fish industry. Nineteen years later, the company acquired its first trailer truck equipped with a refrigerating system. This was a major innovation in the seafood industry at the time and the company was heavily featured in the news. With the company’s new transportation vehicle, it began making shipments from its headquarters in Massachusetts to San Francisco, California.
In 1953, the company was the first to introduce its ready-to-cook frozen fish stick, which received the Seal of Approval award from Parents magazine. Four years later, the company’s name became Gorton’s of Gloucester and was changed again to The Gorton Co. in 1965. In 1963, Gorton’s was able to acquire Canadian company Bluewater Seafoods. A year after, the company launched its products packed in a new Gorton box. In 1968, Gorton’s went into a merger with General Mills and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Mills.
In 1995, Unilever acquired Gorton’s from General Mills. In 2001, after being a Unilever subsidiary for 6 years, Gorton’ss was again acquired by a new owner, Japanese company Nippon Suisan Kaisha. Gorton’s then become a subsidiary wholly-owned by Nippon Suisan. In 2005, Gorton’s completed its acquisition of King and Prince Seafood. In the same year, the company eliminated trans-fat from all of its products, to comply with the U.S. Federal government’s requirement.
Currently, Gorton’s products include frozen, breaded popcorn shrimp and fish, fish fillets and sticks, as well as fish tenders. Gorton’s operations in Canada, Bluewater Seafoods, currently leads the country’s seafood brands.
Headquarters: Gloucester, Massachusetts
Ownership Type: Private
No. of Employees: 975
Demography: frozen seafood product consumers