Pinnacle Foods Holding, which has built a business on revitalizing venerable brands, was formed in 2001 by Hicks Muse Tate & Furst and CDM Investor Group to buy Vlasic Foods International's North American unit. Origin of Pinnacle brands (with the year it bought or licensed them):
Armour meats (2006) Begun in 1867 as a meatpacker, Armour eventually was better known for soap, a meatpacking byproduct. It became Armour-Dial, then just Dial. Pinnacle licensed the Armour trademark for canned, jarred and pouched meats from Dial.
Aunt Jemima frozen breakfasts (2004) First a pancake mix in 1889, Aunt Jemima mix and syrup now are owned by PepsiCo's Quaker Oats unit. Pinnacle licensed the name for frozen products, such as pancakes and waffles.
Celeste pizza (2004) The "Mama Celeste" name and face are those of Italian immigrant Celeste Lizio, a 1930s pizzeria owner who moved into supplying pizzas and ingredients to other restaurants. Pinnacle still uses her likeness on its packages.
Duncan Hines baking products (2004) Duncan Hines, a traveling salesman turned author/food critic, lent his name to a cake mix in 1948. The brand now has more than 80 products.
Hungry-Man frozen meals (2001) Campbell Soup introduced the brand for big eaters in 1973. NFL great Mean Joe Greene was a brand spokesman.
Lender's Bagels (2004) Polish immigrant Harry Lender started the business in 1927, boiling and baking bagels in his garage in New Haven, Conn.
Log Cabin syrup (2004) Minnesota grocer Patrick Towle in 1887 named his syrup for Abraham Lincoln's early home.
Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, pancake mixes (2004) The talking, granny-shaped Mrs. Butterworth bottle first appeared in ads in the 1960s. Pinnacle revived the icon for TV ads in 2007. Actress Edie McClurg, the school secretary in 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off, is the new voice.
Mrs. Paul's seafood It began with Edward Piszek selling deviled crab cakes at a Philadelphia bar in 1946. Piszek and friend John Paul then started a frozen seafood business. They considered naming it for Edward's mom, Mrs. Piszek, but went with John's mom, the simpler Mrs. Paul.
Open Pit barbecue sauce (2001) It was launched in Detroit in 1953. The sauce became a staple in many Midwest homes.
Swanson frozen dinners (2001) Its "TV dinner" was born in 1954 in response to two home innovations: freezers and TVs. An original aluminum tray is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Pinnacle licenses the brand.
Van de Kamp's seafood (2004) Founded in 1915 as a potato chip stand in Los Angeles by Theodore J. Van de Kamp and his family. The business grew to include a bakery and fried fish. It now is only a frozen fish brand.
Vlasic pickle products (2001) It was created by the Vlasic family in 1942. Its Groucho Marx-esque stork icon first appeared in 1974 TV ads and touted a fresh "crunch" with the line: "Vlasic is the best-tasting pickle I ever heard!" Pinnacle tweaked it for new ads to: "That's the tastiest crunch I ever heard."
Source: Pinnacle Foods