The Hain Pure Food Company History
Hain Pure Food Company, the original core business of the current Hain Celestial Group, continues to have a great influence over the group's current business. Because today, The Hain Celestial Group is still based on the principles of which Hain Pure Food Co. was originally founded: a commitment to producing and selling high quality, healthy foods made from the finest all-natural ingredients. This tradition has persisted proudly for over 76 incredible years, providing wholesome and delicious products in their natural pure form without the use of artificial colors, flavors or preservatives that alter foods' natural qualities...a fact that has established Hain Pure Food Co. as the premium provider of the all-natural products consumers want with the full flavor nature intended.
A Healthy Beginning
Back in 1926, Dr. Harold Hain was an early advocate of health foods and a stalwart believer in the benefits that could be reaped from a nutritious diet of natural foods and juices. Possibly a man before his time, Dr. Hain started producing all-natural carrot and celery juices. Well-received amongst health food consumers, he expanded his product line to include canned juices with extended shelf life -- products viewed as rather eccentric by the adoring public. Dr. Hain peddled his products for 27 years, struggling and succeeding to build a business in the fledgling health food market. By 1953, he retired, selling Hain for $100,000 to an enthusiastic, creative pharmacist and entrepreneur by the name of George Jacobs.
It was not only a good thing, but a necessity, that Mr. Jacobs had enthusiasm and energy, because it was going to be needed! With annual sales totaling only $100,000, his equal investment seemed doomed. The juice press broke and he was limited to stock on hand while he secured a second bank loan. He made efforts to sell the business back to Mr. Hain, which was denied, so he had no choice but to make it work on his own. George loaded his station wagon with products, literature and sales tools, then hit the road...a traditional, and very innovative, traveling salesman. In exchange for window advertising, he volunteered to wash windows of dusty health food stores. With tireless energy, George Jacobs traveled the country educating whomever he could get to listen: health food storeowners, store workers, customers and ordinary people on the streets. An impassioned speaker, his enthusiasm for health food products was contagious. Hain products were quickly in demand. As demand grew, so did sales. Hain Pure Food Co. was not only on its feet again...it was running!
Mr. Jacobs hired a sales staff which implemented demonstrations nationwide. Turning his focus to product development, George utilized his medical and scientific background to create numerous new and ingenious products that intrigued the public. Skin creams made of avocado oil, expeller pressed vegetable oils in clear bottles for the first time, pure nut butters, fruit juices, wheat germ oil, cosmetics and breath mints began a repertoire of goods that made Hain Pure Food Co. the health food leader.
Hain Goes to Hollywood
In 1958, still searching for means by which to improve business, George agreed to sell product to Jimmy Fiddler, a Hollywood columnist interested in the health food market. Mr. Fiddler packaged Hain products as "Hollywood Brand" and sold them to local stores. However, he defaulted on his loans returning the product and brand labels to Mr. Jacobs.
In the meantime, a salesman appeared at Mr. Jacobs' door with a bottle of clear liquid oil from a thistle-like plant called safflower. Through tests, Mr. Jacobs identified some beneficial properties of safflower oil. It was found to have significantly higher levels of polyunsaturated fats than other oils. Fortunately for Mr. Jacobs in 1960, the American Medical Association put out a claim that polyunsaturated foods were better for you. As a result, George Jacobs bet the future of Hain Pure Foods on this groundbreaking product. He packaged the expeller pressed safflower oil under the Hain label and non-expeller pressed under the Hollywood label, beginning one of the largest growth periods in Hain's history.
With Hain Pure Food Co. brand safflower oil in the health food markets and Hollywood label stocked in mainstream grocery stores, brand recognition and consumer loyalty grew. Both brands soon added safflower margarine and safflower mayonnaise to their product repertoire, further increasing the brands' popularity. To assist in running the ever-growing company in 1961, George Jacobs hired his sons, Herman and Jerald to help him run Hain. Employing their father's pharmacy expertise, Hain began marketing the health benefits of these safflower products to doctors nationwide. Their superior product line paired with innovative marketing techniques expanded sales. By 1970, gross sales of safflower products had grown to an enormous $5 million, enabling the Jacobs to sell Hain Pure Foods Co. to Archon, a new multi-business holding company looking to increase their ties to the rapidly growing health and natural food industry.
Following the acquisition by Archon, George Jacobs retired while his sons stayed on to help the new conglomerate. Herman ran the Hain Pure Food business and Jerald lent his expertise to the Archon organic produce business. However, after only three years, Archon ran into financial difficulties. In 1973, the Jacobs brothers were able to buy Hain back. As Herman Jacobs once said, "Jerald and I had to mortgage our homes, wives and children, but we were able to purchase the company back for about one third of what George sold it for."
Herman and Jerald Jacobs were now free to expand the business as they envisioned it. With a better educated consumer population, the importance of the health and natural food industry was on a steep incline. Both Jacobs' brothers understood that the company's growth was in new products that were more oriented to what consumers experienced in the regular supermarket, but made with the natural ingredient profile of Hain Pure Foods products.
In 1978, they hired Dr. Myron Cooper to head the technical development function. Together, the management team expanded the food and cosmetic offerings over the next five years to become the largest and most reputable natural food company. The Jacobs utilized a unique and impressive marketing tool that, by 1980 grew sales to $25 million. They used Hollywood labels for the mass market and Hain labels for the natural food market -- gaining the best of both worlds and successfully growing the brands while increasing recognition and loyalty.
The Jacobs brothers seemed to find success at every turn until Jerald Jacobs was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In 1980, he passed away, leaving the burden of the entire business on Herman Jacobs. Worlds away from the $100,000 in sales during 1953, Herman Jacobs sold Hain with $45 million in sales to Ogden Foods, a division of the Ogden Corporation, in 1982.
Ogden, PET and Irwin Simon
The Ogden Corporation was forming a food unit and saw the natural food business as a necessary ingredient for their future success along with their Progresso Soup and Salsa lines. Hain Pure Food Co. was very well-respected inside and outside of the Ogden Corporation, winning the prestigious Prepared Foods first place award in the baking category for a natural, whole wheat Bisquick style baking mix. Known as the "little gem" in the Ogden arena, Hain lines were esteemed for their unique position and reputation in the food business.
However, by 1986 Ogden decided to sell its food business division to Pet, Inc. including the Hain and Hollywood brands. Pet knew little about natural foods and therefore, did not really want Hain, but tolerated it for several years. They split the two brands, allowing both Hain and Hollywood to encounter steep decline in sales from lack of attention.
Irwin Simon to the Rescue
Luckily for the Hain and Hollywood brands, Irwin Simon bought both from Pet in 1992, saving the highly respectable lines from extinction. Under Mr. Simon's direction, the brands fell under his new company The Hain Food Group, allowing the Hain label to once again claim its reputable position and set the stage for expanding the company to what it is today.