Schwan Food Company, or Schwan’s, is a privately owned multi-billion dollar food company headquartered in Minnesota, USA. The company is engaged in the production of frozen foods and delivery of these products to homes, retail establishments and food service companies.

Schwan’s was founded in 1952 by Marvin Schwan. He started by personally delivering 14 gallons of homemade ice cream, a family recipe. Schwan used his panel van to deliver the ice cream to families living in the western part of Minnesota. Because the ice cream sold out quickly, the family decided to push through with their business of home delivery.

A year after, Schwan was already selling 120 gallons every day and had even more customers asking for delivery of his products. Because of his product’s growing demand, Schwan bought a refrigerated van and painted it with the company’s first logo. That year, Schwan started to plan the expansion of his business and started off by hiring a route manager.

By 1955, Schwan was already planning on expanding his business out of Marshall, Minnesota. He tried putting in an “out depot” and used a refrigerated single-axe mini-trailer. He then loaded the 32-foot vehicle with ice cream and this “out depot” became a place where his company drivers could operate. Soon after, he built a permanent depot at Sauk Centre. A second Schwan’s depot was then opened at Algona, Iowa.

In the same year, Schwan’s company was able to expand to northeast Illinois by buying Holiday Ice Cream Company and in Wisconsin by acquiring Russell Dairy. In 1957, Schwan’s launched its first non-dairy goods, juice concentrates under the Vita-Sun brand.

In 1974, the company’s original ice cream facility was destroyed by fire. Also destroyed along with the manufacturing facility was the company’s headquarters and distribution center. In the same year, the company decided to convert the company trucks’ fuel to propane, primarily because of the increasing prices of fuel at the time. Currently, all of the company’s delivery trucks still run on propane. Schwan’s even has a subsidiary company that provides conversion kits to convert gasoline-burning trucks to propane-burning ones.

Currently, Schwan’s has over 350 food products that it distributes all over the country. It is also one of the biggest privately owned food manufacturing companies in the United States.

Headquarters: Marshall, Minnesota
Ownership Type: Private
No. of Employees: 18,000
Geography: USA
Demography: All types of consumers, consumers who are into home delivery


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