Throughout the past 70 years, O.K. Foods has remained a family owned operation that is heavily involved in its Arkansas and Oklahoma communities. But in that time, the company has evolved from a livestock and poultry feed producer into one of the world’s largest fully integrated poultry producers. Today, the company employs a staff of roughly 4,000.

Back in 1980, three men – Lazar Jovanovic, James Hall and Jeremy Lumianski – borrowed money from a bank and their relatives to start a meat supply company called Polarpak Foods. The goal of the business was to produce various portions of meat products – raw, solid, chopped and formed, breaded and unbreaded – in large supply to restaurants and grocery stores. It began by selling a high volume of sliced beef liver. Polarpak would eventually be changed to Nordic Foods, which is now a leader in the food processing industry.

Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed is a global checkweighing and inspection systems manufacturer, and is part of the Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection Division. Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed builds checkweighers, combination checkweighers and metal detection systems, and other end-of-line inspection systems.

In January 1971, McCraith Beverages began operations as a beer distributor in Utica, N.Y. A family business, Daniel J. McCraith led the company with his son Tom at his side, and later his daughter Susan. “We did pretty much everything by ourselves,” Tom McCraith says. “We started with eight employees and three were family members.”

Although a mere mention of Jamaica often spurs thoughts of sitting beach-side with a cocktail topped off with an umbrella, life’s not always a beach on the island. The Caribbean hasn’t been immune to the world economic recession, but Jamaica-based Lasco Foods has worked hard to counter those effects.

J.C. Wright Sales Co. distributes more than 8,000 gourmet, kosher and ethnic food specialties and 4,000 non-food items in the Pacific Northwest from the Canadian border to Eugene, Ore. But the company’s success since 1947 has been gained from weathering a complete transition from institutional to retail food sales.

During its 30-year history, Intrastate Distributors Inc. (IDI) has grown from a fleet of only one truck to a major carrier and developer of a wide variety of beverages. The Detroit-based company is a beverage wholesale corporation selling water, juice, soda, snacks and beer to retail accounts in southeastern Michigan and northwest Ohio.

Nearly 20 years ago, New Jersey natives Michael Short and David Masterson decided to take a risk and trade financial stability for beer. The two friends quit their day jobs and opened New Jersey’s first craft beer brewery.

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