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Schwan's Company History


Marvin Schwan started selling and delivering ice cream to rural homes in Southwest Minnesota on March 18, 1952, with one 1946 Dodge panel van. He and his parents, Paul and Alma, ran a small dairy that was struggling due to a government price freeze on milk. In an effort to keep the dairy going, Marvin took his ice cream to homes north of Marshall. The idea worked, the route delivery system was born, and The Schwan Food Company began its dramatic history of fast growth.

Frozen pizza was added to the delivery trucks in 1965, and in 1969, Marvin Schwan placed a tiny ad in the Wall Street Journal: "Wanted – One Pizza Plant." He acquired a small factory in Salina, Kansas, and Tony’s® pizza became a part of the company. Red Baron® and Freschetta® pizzas have since joined Tony's as popular choices in grocery-store freezers.

With the purchase of the Salina plant, Schwan soon began selling pizza directly to retailers and brought pizza to schools in 1970. Today, Schwan's Global Consumer Brands provides great frozen foods to retail grocery stores in the U.S. and more than 50 other countries. Schwan's Food Service Group is a leading supplier to schools, hospitals, universities, chain restaurants, and major entertainment venues.

Acquisitions and start-ups play key roles in a company dedicated to achieving its vision for growth. The acquisitions of Edwards Fine Foods and Mrs. Smith's Bakeries have made The Schwan Food Company a premiere supplier of frozen pies and desserts. Today, the company has major operations in nine states and three countries, including food production, distribution and marketing divisions, as well as technology integration and foodservice equipment businesses.

The company's corporate office building occupies the site of the original Schwan’s Dairy in Marshall. Home delivery, which began with Schwan's® signature ice cream in 1952, is available in the 48 contiguous states.

Used with permission from Schwan's

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