Hebrew National

Hebrew National Logo

Hebrew National Logo

The Hebrew National Kosher Sausage Factory, Inc. was founded on East Broadway, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1905. The company was founded by Theodore Krainin, who emigrated from Russia in the 1880s. By 1921, the factory was registered as a government inspected establishment by the United States Bureau of Animal Industry with Theodore Krainin as proprietor. In a 1921 article, Alfred W. McCann writing in The Globe and Commercial Advertiser citied Hebrew National as having "higher standards than the law requires." McCann wrote the article during a crusade for commercial food decency standards, in which The Globe was prominent.

In 1934, after a bankruptcy action, the certificate of incorporation for Hebrew National Sausage Factory listed Solomon Levinson, Sylvia Marans and Miriam Spector, all of Brooklyn, as directors and shareholders. The company was bought by Jewish Romanian immigrant butcher Isadore Pines. In 1935, Isadore's son, Leonard Pines, took over the business. In 1965, Hebrew National came up with the slogan that they've used ever since: We answer to a higher authority — a reference to Jewish dietary laws and a claim to higher quality that was able to appeal to both Jewish and non-Jewish markets. In 1968, the Pines family sold Hebrew National to Riviana Foods, which was taken over by Colgate-Palmolive in 1976. In 1980, Isidore "Skip" Pines, grandson of Isidore, bought the company from Colgate-Palmolive for a fraction of the price it was originally sold for.

The health food movement of the 1980s, with CEO Steve Silk at the helm, encouraged the company to stick to a recipe that used no artificial colors or flavors, and to minimize other potential modernizations of the recipe. This strategy ultimately proved successful, and with a growing revenue, Hebrew National hoped to transform itself into a large conglomerate through acquiring other brands, in order to compete with the food giants that dominated the industry.

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