Over 90 years of Quality

OUR HISTORY

In Hanover, Pennsylvania, Alan Warehime, a visionary, founded Hanover Foods in 1924. His plan was to provide high-quality fresh veggies to American kitchens. "From Our Fields to Your Table," the phrase he coined, encapsulated this ambition, and it still does today.

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Virgil

In the early years of the 20th century, Harry Virgil Warehime moved from Carroll County, Maryland, to Hanover, Pennsylvania. After settling there and supporting his family as a farmer, Warehime set out to expand beyond his fields and founded the Hanover Canning Company in 1924.

Hanover Foods Corporation

. Hanover Foods Corporation is also a significant player in the lucrative private label business. The company operates plants in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Guatemala, producing over 40 million cases of glass-pack, canned, frozen, refrigerated, freeze-dried, and snack food products each year. Since 1995, however, Hanover Foods has been troubled by internecine strife, as different members of the Warehime family (who founded the company and still control some 60 percent of it) have been embroiled in legal struggles for control of the business.

In the early years of the 20th century, Harry Virgil Warehime moved from Carroll County, Maryland, to Hanover, Pennsylvania. After settling there and supporting his family as a farmer, Warehime set out to expand beyond his fields and founded the Hanover Canning Company in 1924. The fledgling company canned peas, beans, and tomatoes grown by Warehime and other local farmers during the summer season, and processed sauerkraut in the winter.

Harry Warehime's son, Alan R. Warehime, joined the family business in 1934, after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in agriculture and economics. With Alan on board, the Hanover Canning Company grew at a steady pace throughout the 1940s. But true success arrived in the 1950s, as the company expanded tremendously, hiring large numbers of new employees. In 1954, Hanover Canning added frozen vegetables to its established line of canned products.

After Harry Warehime died in 1955, his son succeeded him as president and chief executive officer. As the Harrisburg Patriot explained on March 28, 1990, it was 'under [Alan's] leadership [that] the company grew to become a national distributor and one of the leading independent food processors in the United States.' Unlike other executives, Alan Warehime was known for his active involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company. Indeed, rather than isolate himself in his office, he was fond of walking the plant floors.

Perhaps it was his strolls through the Hanover Canning Company that led Warehime to formulate his food-processing innovations. Shortly after Hanover Canning introduced its line of frozen foods, it became the first company to produce pre-made salads in glass jars. These convenient, ready-to-eat items proved very popular with consumers, particularly Hanover Canning's glass-packaged 3-Bean Salad, which debuted in 1955. In the early 1960s, Warehime oversaw the development of 'individually quick frozen' (or IQF) vegetables. Prior to this breakthrough, frozen vegetables were packaged in cumbersome block frozen bags which consumers needed to defrost entirely or otherwise break apart on their own. IQF vegetables, on the other hand, could be poured out with ease in simple-to-measure quantities.

Alan Warehime also presided over Hanover Canning's initial acquisitions. In the mid-1950s, Hanover Canning purchased Gibbs and Phillip's--two regional companies whose lines of canned and frozen vegetables complemented Hanover's products. In 1961, Hanover Canning entered into new territory when the company acquired nearby Snyder's Pretzels and Chips--which it rechristened Snyder's of Hanover. With annual sales exceeding $2 million in 1960, this snack food company provided Hanover Canning with clear advantages.

Founded in 1923, Snyder's enabled its new parent firm to expand beyond the vegetable business, which--though booming--was characterized by low margins. Even more enticing was the fact that Snyder's had built an extensive distribution network which could assist Hanover Canning in its efforts to extend into new geographic regions. After its spate of acquisitions, Hanover Canning opted to change its name to convey its new breadth. In 1962, it officially became Hanover Brands Inc.

In the late 1960s, Hanover Brands again broadened its product lines when it began to compete in the growing private label business. With private-label brands, Hanover Brands created food products for various retail stores and direct-home delivery distributors. The products were then sold under those brand names--not its own--sparing Hanover the costs it accrued when marketing its own brand.

Hanover Brands continued to enjoy soaring sales in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1975, the company made a significant strategic move when it launched a new division--Alcosa--located in Guatemala City, Guatemala. By opening a plant in the warmer climes of Central America, Hanover Brands was seeking to regularize its vegetable business. Certain crops--especially broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts (so-called 'cold crops')--were difficult to produce consistently in the company's fields in Pennsylvania and Delaware. However, these crops could be grown virtually year-round in Guatemala, enabling Hanover Brands to produce a steady stream of frozen and canned cold crops.

Growth in the 1980s and Early 1990s

As it integrated Alcosa into its operations, Hanover Brands also continued to bolster its regional presence in the mid-Atlantic states. In the early 1980s, Hanover Brands made two key acquisitions that meshed with its strengths. With the purchase of Superfine in 1980, the company strengthened its position in the frozen and canned vegetable market. The addition of Myers to the Hanover stable of brands in 1982 made Hanover one of the leading vegetable processors in the region.