Always in Season
Seneca Foods Corporation is an American food processor and distributor headquartered in Marion, New York, USA. The company primarily produces canned, frozen, and bottled produce under private label as well as national and regional brands that the company owns or licenses. Under an agreement with General Mills, the company produces products under the Green Giant and Le Sueur labels. The company also produces frozen vegetables, fruit and chip products, and steel cans, and runs an air charter business.
The company was founded in 1949 in Dundee, New York, by Cornell University business student Arthur S. Wolcott. In the 1950s, Seneca contracted with Minute Maid to co-pack the first frozen grape juice in the nation. Apple processing, specialty syrups, and maraschino cherries were added to the product line. The development of private label, bulk, industrial and co–pack segments also took place during this time. Fruit processing remained the primary focus for the next several decades.
During the 1960s, the company expanded with new plants and products, including the nation's first frozen apple juice concentrate, under the Seneca brand. The corporate name was changed from Seneca Grape Juice Company to Seneca Foods Corporation. During this time frame, the Prosser, Washington plant was opened for the production of applesauce and fruit juices, and the company added brokers and expanded distribution. Seneca stock began trading in the over-the-counter market, and Vitamin C enriched apple juice was introduced – a first in the industry.
The company grew in the 1970s through acquisitions of companies in the food distribution, canned vegetable, glass, paint and textile businesses. Through one of these acquisitions, Julius G. Kayser joined Seneca and played a key role in the company's growth until his death in 1988. The corporate name was changed to S.S. Pierce Company, and production of metal cans began.
During the 1980s, the corporate name changed back to Seneca Foods Corporation, and the company consolidated most of its non-food operations and focused on its fruit and vegetable lines. The company produced the first natural frozen grape juice and expanded the juice line into white grape, cranberry, and cranberry blends. The company entered the private label retail and food service vegetable business in the Midwest, and began producing IQF frozen vegetables for the food service and industrial markets.
In the 1990s, through further acquisitions and internal growth, Seneca became the world's largest processor of canned vegetables. The company acquired six plants from Pillsbury and entered into an alliance with them to manufacture products under the Green Giant label. At the end of the decade, the company sold its juice and applesauce operations and raised capital with a shareholder rights offering. It expanded to global markets, and purchased an apple chip business. Seneca Flight Operations also became the fixed based operator at the Penn Yan, New York, Airport, and a hangar complex was constructed.
Current members of the board of directors of Seneca are: Arthur S. Wolcott, Kraig H. Kayser, Arthur H. Baer, Andrew M. Boas, Robert T. Brady, Douglas F. Brush, G. Brymer Humphreys, Thomas Paulson, and Susan W. Stuart.