The 17 Real People Behind Your Favorite Food Brand Names

From Duncan Hines to H.J. Heinz, there’s a real person behind some of the biggest food brand names

Wikimedia Commons/ We Hope
Jimmy Dean didn't just make some mighty fine breakfast sausage, he was also a legendary country singer.

From Orville Redenbacher to Marie Callender, from Wendy’s to Mrs. Fields, there are plenty of food brands out there that took their names from a real-life person. Some were named after their founder (or their founder’s relatives), others were named after celebrities who let their name be licensed, but every brand named after a person reflects a unique success story, one of the American dream fulfilled.

The 17 Real People Behind Your Favorite Food Brand Names

While navigating the supermarket aisle, we’re confronted with brand name after brand name. Some we recognize but don’t purchase, others we’re fiercely loyal to and buy without giving a second thought, others we’ve never even heard of. While some brands, like Nabisco, obviously got their names based on a brainstorm session (National Biscuit Company was probably pretty easy to think of, and to shorten), others, like Hormel and Keebler, are a bit more mysterious. Who was this Mr. Hormel, and what did he do to make his name nearly synonymous with processed meat?

It turns out that the vast majority of brands named after real people are — of course — named after the company’s founder. But each of these founders has a unique and oftentimes fascinating story. Take Orville Redenbacher, for example. Beginning at age 12, he spent decades perfecting a hybrid popping corn that popped up light and fluffy. Once he nailed it, it gave rise to a huge company. Other large companies are named after people with only a tangential connection to the brand, like Wendy’s, which was named after a nickname for founder Dave Thomas’ daughter, Melinda Lou. And if you thought that Duncan Hines’ claim to fame was the invention of instant cake mix, then we suggest you check out the 1935 book that made him a household name, Adventures in Good Eating, which had nothing to do with cake mix and everything to do with great restaurants.

If you’ve ever wondered who the famous Nathan was, why "it’s gotta be good" with a name like Smucker’s, and who this Heinz was, with his 57 varieties, then click here to learn all about 17 real people behind your favorite food brand names

Be a Part of the Conversation

Have something to say?
Add a comment (or see what others think).

Comments 2

Like this story? Get updates by email, facebook and twitter
Get daily food and wine coverage

Latest from The Daily Meal

The Daily Meal Video Network
Strawberry Brie Grilled Cheese


johnston's picture

You are referring to Alexandra Watkins book at yes, I also used that guide.


Brand name is not an issue for every product being advertised during those time. As long as they have been endorsed by people, they seems to be more attractive to consumers. But now, this modern age, proper product naming always matters. When you have the unique name and quality innovations, then you will have what it takes. Advertising today is critical, that is why many company always have guidance when it comes to marketing their business. Some uses business naming book in order for them to have unique brand name. And that is the same idea I have implemented in my business, I have even used guide books that I bought from Amazon, its amazing because you will learn many thing specially if you plan to start a business. The book also featured at Amazon or you can have it directly from <a href="" rel="dofollow">click here</a> to know more of it.

Add a Comment

Upload a picture of yourself no larger than 3MB, please see Terms for details
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Please answer this Captcha to prove you are human