The Vlasic Story
It’s truly an American success story. An immigrant family, a great idea, a big taste, and a funny stork won their way into the hearts—and stomachs—of generations of hungry consumers.
How It all Started
Frank Vlasic moved to America in 1912 to build a better life for his family. Back then he made cheese—not pickles—so the success chapter of the Vlasic story took awhile. After saving every dime from his $2-a-day car foundry job, Frank established a creamery business in Detroit. He eventually turned it over to his son, Joe.
Fortunately, Joe expanded the family milk and cheese business into selling Polish pickles spiced with garlic and dill. During World War II, his supply of pickles dried up, so Joe started testing a new idea: selling Polish pickles in glass jars. Smart move. Joe couldn’t keep up with demand, and the Vlasic Pickle brand was born!
Joe’s son, Bob, joined the company after the war and became general manager of the Vlasic operation, which still included the creamery. Its first plant was built in Imlay City, Michigan. Over the next 20 years, Joe and Bob grew Vlasic into America’s number-one pickle. Not bad for a couple of cheese makers.
The Vlasics played an important role in shaping American eating habits with their glass-packed pickles. In 1933, per capita pickle consumption was 2.09 pounds. By 1974, consumption grew to 8 pounds. Joe and Bob became so successful at pickles that they dropped milk and cheese entirely. Vlasic Pickles became as American as apple pie.
In 1974, a wisecracking Vlasic Stork flew out of American television screens with the message that crunchy “Vlasic is the best tasting pickle I ever heard!”
What does a lovable stork with a Groucho Marx voice have to do with selling pickles? Some say about the same thing a cheese maker has to do with pickles. But, others say that since the national birth rate was dropping at that time and babies were in short supply, concerned Vlasic managers simply offered the stork an opportunity to deliver pickles instead. Whichever explanation you like best, it worked. And while baby booms have come and gone, the Vlasic Stork continues to stay with us as the fun spokesbird of our fun brand.
We’re still committed to the principles of quality, taste, trust, and innovation established by the Vlasic family. The Vlasic brand includes dozens of varieties of pickles, peppers, and relishes in many cuts, flavors, and sizes.
Innovative new products—like our Squeezable Homestyle Relish—continue the Vlasic tradition of bold experimentation. And Vlasic Snack’mms offer on-the-go consumers an easy way to include Vlasic pickles in their snack-on-the-run lifestyles.
You may already have a favorite Vlasic pickle, but we’ll make sure there’s always a new Vlasic to try or new way to try them. “After all,” says the Stork, “You’ve got 10,000 cute little taste buds, so we may as well have 10,000 ways to keep them happy!”