Del Monte History

This page was last updated on June 9, 2013.

(Return To Canning Page)


The Del Monte Name Premieres -- The Del Monte name was first used by an Oakland, California, foods distributor to designate a premium blend of coffee prepared especially for the elegant Hotel Del Monte on the Monterey peninsula.


The Del Monte Brand is Introduced -- The Del Monte brand is introduced when the firm expanded its business and selected Del Monte as the brand name for its new line of canned peaches.


California Fruit Canners Association (CFCA) was formed when 18 West Coast canning companies merged. The Del Monte brand was one of several brands marketed by the new company.


Earthquake Devastates San Francisco -- The city's food processing facilities were mostly destroyed. The rebuilt Del Monte Plant No. 1 became the world's largest fruit and vegetable cannery. Plant No. 1, on famous Fisherman's Wharf, is now known as the Cannery at Del Monte Square.


The Del Monte Shield is Introduced -- The Del Monte Shield makes its first appearance on a can label.


Packaging Innovations Abound -- The "sanitary" three-piece can replaces hand-soldered containers, ushering in the era of modern, mechanized canning.


Calpak is Formed -- California Fruit Canners Association (CFCA) consolidated its business with three other large canners to create California Packing Corporation ("Calpak"). The Del Monte brand takes center stage as the new company's strategy is to offer one high-quality brand, advertise nationally and distribute products nationally. These other canneries included Griffin and Skelley Company; and the Central California Canneries Company. At the time of its organization, Calpak had a combined operation of sixty canneries.


Advertising Milestone -- The company becomes the first U.S. fruit and vegetable processor to advertise nationally with the first Del Monte brand advertisement appearing in the Saturday Evening Post on April 17.

California Packing Corporation created Utah Packing Corporation as a subsidiary to operate the five canneries in Utah owned by William J. (Jake) Parker.


The Del Monte Guarantee -- Calpak establishes stringent quality specifications for its premium brand, Del Monte. Early ads assure customers "Not a label, but a guarantee."


Calpak Becomes Del Monte Corporation -- Calpak changes its name to Del Monte Corporation.


Del Monte the First to Adopt Nutritional Labeling -- Del Monte becomes the first major U.S. food processor to voluntarily adopt nutritional labeling on all its food products, an innovation that makes headlines across the country.


Del Monte is Acquired by R.J. Reynolds -- Del Monte Corporation is acquired by R.J. Reynolds Industries (later RJR Nabisco).


RJR Nabisco Sells Del Monte -- RJR Nabisco sells former Del Monte Corporation units separately. Del Monte Foods -- domestic processed fruit, vegetable and tomato products operations -- is purchased by investor group led by Merrill Lynch.


Group Purchases Del Monte; Contadina Brand Acquired -- Texas Pacific Group purchases Del Monte Foods. Contadina brand is added to Del Monte Foods portfolio.


Del Monte Foods Company Begins Trading on the NYSE -- Shares of Del Monte Foods Company begin trading on the New York and Pacific Stock Exchanges under the DLM ticker symbol.


SunFresh Brand is Acquired -- Worldwide rights to the SunFresh brand of premium citrus and tropical fruits are acquired.


S&W Brand is Acquired -- Worldwide rights to the S&W brand of processed fruit, vegetable. tomato and specialty sauce products are acquired.


Del Monte Nearly Triples In Size -- Del Monte completes its largest acquisition from H.J. Heinz Company: the pet food and snacks, seafood, private label soup and gravy. College Inn broth, and infant feeding businesses, nearly tripling the Company's size and elevating its stature in these businesses.


Del Monte Square is Dedicated -- Del Monte Foods plays a major role in revitalizing the historic waterfront area of San Francisco that includes the site of its former Plant No. 1, once the world's largest fruit and vegetable cannery. On September 28, 2004, this historic site is officially dedicated as Del Monte Square.


Del Monte Becomes Second Largest Pet Foods Company -- Del Monte sells its U.S. retail private label soup and gravy businesses and its U.S. infant feeding business. The Company acquires Meow MiX and Milk-Bones brands to become the second largest company in the pet industry.


Del Monte Divests Starkist Seafood Business -- Del Monte sells its seafood business, including Starkist, to Dongwon Industries Co., Ltd. for approximately $359 million.


On March 8, 2011, Del Monte was acquired by an investor group led by funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Capital, L.P.


Company Profile -- Del Monte Foods is one of the country's largest producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded pet products and food products for the U.S. retail market, generating approximately $3.7 billion in net sales in fiscal 2011. With a powerful portfolio of brands, Del Monte products are found in eight out of ten U.S. households. Pet food and pet snacks brands include Meow Mix, Kibbles 'n Bits, Milk-Bone, 9Lives, Pup-Peroni, Gravy Train, Nature's Recipe, Canine Carry Outs, Milo's Kitchen and other brand names. Food product brands include Del Monte, Contadina, S&W, College Inn and other brand names. The Company also produces and distributes private label pet products and food products. For more information on Del Monte Foods, visit the Company's website at

More Information

Del Monte Foods entry at Wikipedia)