Murray Lender, founder of Lender's Bagel, died this week at 81 at his home in Florida, the Associated Press reports.
Lender's Bagels, founded in 1927, came about during a time when bagels were sold mostly to Jewish families, who enjoyed them with the traditional lox and cream cheese. Lender's was a family bakery in Connecticut which turned into a national bagel empire in no time. It was the first brand to offer bagels frozen, fresh, and refrigerated, according to its web site. The company reached its heyday in the 1950s, when it began baking Sunday bagels far in advance and freezing them. Lender then began selling packaged bagels in supermarkets in 1955, and frozen ones in 1960. Lender said to the AP in 1986, "The frozen bagel is convenient, which is important to today's on-the-go consumers."
Lender's Bagels, which was sold to Kraft Foods in 1984, made nearly 750 million bagels last year.