Sunday, March 04, 2018

Biography of James L Kraft (December 11, 1874 – February 16, 1953)

James Lewis Kraft was born of Mennonite parentage near Stevensville, Ontario, Canada. His father was a farmer. In his youth, Kraft clerked in a grocery store near his home. He immigrated to the United States, where he engaged in a variety of pursuit. One of his jobs was with the Buffalo Cheese Company, where he learned the business.

In 1903 Kraft noticed that grocers traveled daily to the cheese market to buy cheese for their stores.

Recognizing an opportunity, he started a wholesale cheese distribution business in Chicago that brought the cheese to the grocers. He bought a wagon and a horse to pull it and 50 pounds of cheese, who he peddled on the streets. Sales were slow until Kraft came up with idea of packaging the cheese in portions in advance rather than weighing out and wrapping pieces to each customer’s specification.

He was one of the first entrepreneurs to take cheese from a commodity to a branded product. His four brothers joined him in 1909, and they incorporated the fledgling business as J.L Kraft and Brothers Company.

Kraft developed a method of blending and heating a variety of natural cheese to produce more consistent, high-quality product. This revolutionary process was patented in 1906, the first of many patents obtained by the company.
Biography of James L Kraft (December 11, 1874 – February 16, 1953)
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