Innovation Through the Decades

An Overview of Rich's Story

An Overview of Our Story

The story of Rich Products Corporation begins in 1935, when Robert E. Rich is the owner and operator of Wilber Farms Dairy. While later serving as Michigan’s War Food Administrator, Mr. Rich learns about unique research being conducted at the George Washington Carver Institute.

1945: The Miracle Cream from the Soya Bean

1945: The Miracle Cream from the Soya Bean

Rich’s is founded in 1945 with a startling development by Robert E. Rich Sr., who directs a laboratory team to search for a vegetable-based replacement for whipped cream that is derived from a new source – the soya bean.

1950s: Éclairs, Crème Puffs and Coffee Rich

1950s: Éclairs, Crème Puffs and Coffee Rich

With the success of “whippable” topping established, the company focuses its attention on developing more products and innovations. In 1954, Rich’s introduces the first commercial line of frozen éclairs and crème puffs, for which it is still famous today.

 Expansion and Frozen Baked Goods

1960s: Expansion and Frozen Baked Goods

Sparked by demand for Rich’s growing product line, the 1960s are a period of company expansion, beginning with the 1962 construction of a manufacturing plant in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada (just minutes west of Rich’s Buffalo, N.Y., headquarters). Eventually named to lead this new division of the company, known as Rich Products of Canada Ltd., is Robert E. (Bob) Rich Jr. – son of company founder – who joins Rich’s in 1964 as President of the start-up subsidiary.

Expansion, Diversification, Innovation

1970s: Expansion, Diversification, Innovation

Rich’s continues aggressive manufacturing expansion by acquiring nine new production sites – in California, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania – and building a new plant in Murfreesboro, Tenn. In 1976, Rich’s further diversifies its food portfolio with acquisition of the SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Company, a provider of seafood specialties based in St. Simons Island, Ga.

Freeze Flo, On Top, Aggressive Acquisition

1980s: Freeze Flo, On Top, Aggressive Acquisition

During the decade, Rich’s solidifies its industry leadership with two significant product innovations. In 1980, Rich’s introduces Freeze Flo®, an all-natural process that allows food to remain soft while frozen or to be served straight from the freezer. And in 1986, Rich’s introduces On Top® non-dairy dessert topping, which is the first topping to be packaged in a pastry bag containing its own tip.

International Expansion

1990s: International Expansion

Rich’s continues to grow its U.S. manufacturing network with acquisitions of production sites in Massachusetts and Ohio and the construction of a new facility in Niles, Ill. Led by Gisel in his new position of Executive Vice President of International and Strategic Planning, the company in the 1990s also continues to expand into international markets by opening more than 20 sales offices in major cities throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Continued Growth and Success

2000s: Continued Growth and Success

Rich’s further expands its product portfolio through acquisition and product innovation. Early in the decade, Rich’s adds an impressive assortment of fully finished frozen desserts by completing the acquisitions of Jon Donaire Desserts, of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and Mother’s Kitchen Desserts, in Burlington, N.J. Rich’s also bolsters its existing product lines with the acquisitions of frozen cake and bakery mix producer JW Allen & Co., in 2000, and leading donut producer Rolling Pin Manufacturing, in 2005.

2011 and Beyond

2011 and Beyond

Rich Products Corporation kicks off 2011 with the acquisitions of Celebration Foods, a leading manufacturer and distributor of frozen desserts and ice cream cakes, and VSE International, the leading wholesale bakery manufacturing company in Sydney, Australia. The Celebration Foods business brings with it a licensing agreement for Carvel-branded ice cream cakes in certain distribution channels, along with assets in manufacturing, corporate operations and R&D, plus a direct-store-distribution system.

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