Henry Schwartz, CEO
During the 1970s, the enterprising Schwartz family was operating a dairy plant in Steuben County, NY. There, in rural Prattsburgh, the Schwartzes worked at the cutting edge of yogurt manufacture. Producing LeShake, a drinkable yogurt, they anticipated the yogurt trend that has since swept the dairy industry.

By the early 1980s, the Schwartz family’s pioneering success caught the attention of multinational food corporation Kellogg’s. The breakfast giant was impressed by the excellence in innovation they saw at the Prattsburgh plant. Hoping to start a partnership with the best manufacturer in dairy, The Kellogg Company approached Henry Schwartz with a proposal. The Schwartzes would help Kellogg’s enter the dairy space by manufacturing a new yogurt at the Prattsburgh plant. Thus, the family business expanded into the realm of contract manufacturing, and Steuben Foods was founded.

As a contract manufacturer, Steuben Foods began partnering with branded businesses to manufacture an array of products. In partnership with Kellogg’s, Steuben produced the Whitney’s line of premium fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts. Through such partnerships, Steuben started to service a national market. Soon, the company outgrew its Prattsburgh home.

At the western end of New York State, in the small town of Elma, Henry Schwartz discovered a vacant 750,000-square-foot facility built for Western Electric but abandoned before completion. In 1983, Steuben acquired the facility. Two years later, after extensive repairs and the installation of new machinery and equipment, Steuben Foods opened the Elma plant for yogurt manufacture.

The early 1990s are marked by one of Steuben Foods’ most groundbreaking innovations: acquiring aseptic capabilities. Back then, aseptic packaging was popular in Europe, but almost unheard of in the United States. Indeed, Steuben Foods was one of the very first American manufacturers to obtain the technology. By going aseptic, the company began manufacturing low-acid products that remain stable at room temperature.

In the 2010s, Steuben acquired from Dr. Cheryl Mitchell remarkable patented technology for processing whole grains, nuts, and seeds into highly nutritious and clean formulations. Unlike traditional hydrolyzed flours, HydroReleased Ingredients (HRI) minimize the need for filler ingredients by capturing the broad nutritional value of plants.

With Dr. Mitchell’s HydroRelease technology, Steuben Foods became a leader in the plant-based food and beverage space. Construction of an 80,000-square-foot ingredients facility was completed in 2016. The next year, HydroRelease was used to launch the first SKUs of Elmhurst 1925, a premium brand of creamy and nutritious plant milks made with only simple ingredients. HRI went on to open sales to the food and beverage industry in 2021. These bases can be used in every area of the food and beverage space to formulate a variety of plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan products.

Over four decades since its founding, Steuben Foods is now a global leader in low-acid aseptic food and beverage manufacturing. Steuben maintains a broad portfolio of processing capabilities and packaging formats. Still, Steuben never stops growing. Keep an eye out for exciting new innovations coming soon.

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