Product type Preserved tomato products
Owner ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Introduced 1888
Workers at Val Vita, which later
became Hunt Foods in
Fullerton, California (c.1940)

Hunt's is the name of a brand of preserved tomato products owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc. The company was founded in 1888, in Sebastopol, California, as the Hunt Bros. Fruit Packing Co. by Joseph and William Hunt. The brothers relocated to nearby Santa Rosa in 1890, and then to Hayward in 1895. This small canning operation grew rapidly, focused on canning the products of California's booming fruit and vegetable industries. By 1941, the plant shipped a hundred million cans of soup, fruits, vegetables, and juices annually.[1]

In 1943, Hunt's was taken over by Norton Simon's Val Vita Food Products - a competing firm founded in the early 1930s. The merged firm kept the Hunt's name and incorporated as Hunt Foods, Inc. The new management decided to focus the company on canned tomato products, particularly prepared tomato sauce.

The Wesson Oil & Snowdrift Company merged with Hunt's Foods, Inc. in 1960 to become Hunt-Wesson Foods. Hunt-Wesson merged with the McCall Corporation and Canada Dry to form Norton Simon Inc. in 1968. Norton Simon was acquired by Esmark in 1983, which merged with Beatrice Foods the next year. In 1985, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired Beatrice with the goal of selling off businesses. Hunt-Wesson, the company which included the Hunt's brands, was sold in 1990 to agribusiness giant ConAgra Foods.

Besides canned tomato sauce, the Hunt's brand appears on tomato paste, diced, whole, stewed, and crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, canned potatoes, peaches and their Family Favorites line of canned recipe helpers. It also is the brand name appearing on Manwich brand sloppy joes products and formerly Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding. Reddi-wip whipped cream was originally also under the Hunt's banner.

In May 2010, Hunt's ketchup temporarily removed high fructose corn syrup from its ingredients. The new ingredients were "tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, salt and other seasonings".[2] The product changed back to high fructose corn syrup in May 2012.[3]

See also


  1. Workers of the Writers' Program. "Los Angeles: A Guide to the City and its Environs". Hastings House, 1941, page. 346.
  2. "High-fructose corn syrup cut from Hunt's ketchup". News & Record. Associated Press. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  3. "ConAgra switches back to HFCS in Hunt's ketchup citing lackluster demand". 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
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