About Cains - History

Turn back the clock to 1914, and work your way through the bustle of Fanueil Hall Market Place. In these great storehouses, purveyors of fresh meats, produce and dairy products sold their goods to retailers and restaurants throughout the greater Boston area.
It was in this place, at this time that John E. Cain opened his Cheese distribution company. But unlike many of the others working at Fanueil Hall, John Cain had vision, and set his course to become a true example of the American Dream.
As he expanded to include more products including mayonnaise, he realized that mayonnaise had a characteristic that caused it to separate. Determined to solve this problem, he convinced Harry Smith to help him create and manufacture a better product. And so they did, and in 1924, Cains Mayonnaise was introduced: a delicious mayonnaise that did not separate, and kept its creamy smooth texture and appearance.
An instant success, Cains needed more manufacturing space to meet growing demand, and moved to Cambridge in 1926. John E. Cain was invigorated by the success of his mayonnaise, and saw expansion in his future.

Delicious recipes for new products were tested and introduced. New England quickly fell in love with Cains Sweet Relish, Horseradish, Sandwich Spread, Tartar Sauce and Russian Dressing.
In 1932, John Cain bought the Sunrise Food Company for its great tasting Potato Chips. Again, his vision saw a superior product. To have the highest quality chips available, automatic machinery was installed, providing precise manufacturing control.
In 1939, consistent crispness and taste was achieved, earning the popular snack a new name: Cains Potato Chips. As this business grew, Cains constructed a magnificent potato chip plant on the Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford in 1952.
From that time until leaving the potato chip business in 1981, this facility became a landmark throughout New England. To this day, people tell stories of touring this facility and seeing how Cains Potato Chips were made, and how wonderful they tasted.
The strength of the Cain's family and their dedication to growing a New England company became evident upon the passing of founder John Cain on June 30, 1950. Without a glitch in leadership and with the same commitment to quality, his son Robert took control, sharing his father's foresight and winning confidence of family, employees and leaders in the food industry.
In 1955, Cains purchased the Jewett Pickle Company in South Deerfield, Massachusetts and the Oxford Pickle Company in South Paris, Maine. These additions to the company ended Cains reliance on contract packers for relish and pickle products. For over 50 years, Cains Pickles developed a reputation for crunchy excellence made from cucumbers grown in the Connecticut Valley region.
Innovation in food distribution changed everyone in the food business, including Cains. In 1970, direct delivery to grocery warehouses instead of store-door delivery revolutionized manufacturing and shipping methods. Bigger volume was now possible, and Cains moved to a spacious new facility in Ayer, Massachusetts in 1973.
This new home made it possible for Cains to focus on its core business of mayonnaise and a new line of salad dressings. As the company's potential grew, Cains was sold to BolsWessanen in 1986. Sister companies were Heluva Good Cheese and Kemps Frozen Yogurt.
John E. Cain Co. became Cains Foods, and under its new owners, the product line expanded for both retail and food service customers. Most importantly, the company never lost sight of its overall goal to manufacture foods of the highest quality and reliability, and never lost its name: CAINS!
Marking a new era for the company, Cains Foods was purchased by Denis J. Keaveny in 1995. A private investor, he was determined to preserve Cains historic reputation for superior taste and quality in New England and New York.
His love for authentic flavors of this region saw Cains purchase the Olde Cape Cod Company in 1998, whose products include premium salad dressings, mustards, chowders, tartar and cocktail sauces.
In August 2000, Cains sold its pickle division to focus its energy on producing and marketing the finest mayonnaise, dressings and related products. Today, Cains pickles are manufactured and sold by an independent company committed to upholding the standard of excellence rooted in its Cains heritage.
In a new chapter, in July, 2013, Cains Foods was acquired by TreeHouse Foods of Oak Brook, Illinois. TreeHouse is a food manufacturer servicing primarily the retail grocery and foodservice distribution channels. The acquisition of Cains and its line of quality products will add to the assortment of premium products offered within the TreeHouse family.
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