Land O’Frost is a third generation, family-owned business started by Antoon Van Eekeren in 1941 and grown by his son, Paul Van Eekeren, a visionary who looked at the needs of consumers and acted on them. From our beginnings on the south side of Chicago to our current national presence and 1,500 employees, we’ve remained focused on family. That’s been the foundation of our company and our brands. We consider our employees, customers, and partners a part of our Land O’Frost family. It’s our unwavering commitment to everyone we serve that has allowed us to grow over the years.
- Donna Van Eekeren, Executive Chairman, and David Van Eekeren, President & CEO
Antoon Van Eekeren, an immigrant from Holland, saw the wartime demands for freezer storage and purchased a building on the south side of Chicago to house people’s frozen meat, later producing frozen meat pies and TV dinners. The company incorporated under the Land O’Frost name in 1958.
Antoon Van Eekeren’s sons, Paul and Henry, assumed leadership of the company. Both shared their father’s vision and continued to grow Land O’Frost with innovation and the customers’ needs as priorities.
With the growing demand for thinly sliced lunchmeat, Land O’Frost opened its first lunch meat manufacturing plant in Lansing, IL. Paul Van Eekeren, with the help of an incredible team, designed new manufacturing machines that made production less labor intensive, reducing costs and improving food safety.
With the changing needs of the military and consumers, Paul, an entrepreneur, saw an opportunity. Land O'Frost began producing Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s). These MRE’s included C-rations for the military and healthy meals for retailers, including diet plan companies such as Nutrisystem.
Seeing a need for family-sized portions, Land O’Frost introduced the one-pound Premium deli pouch. The product, the first sliced meat packaged and sold under the Land O’Frost Premium brand, remains the bestselling product of its kind today.
Donna Van Eekeren assumed the role of CEO and Land O’Frost began focusing more on the full lives of their consumers, treating them like an extended family.
Because of increased sales, Land O’Frost opened its state-of-the-art processing facility in Madisonville, KY. This 190,000-square-foot plant includes the most modern processing and food safety technology that the industry has to offer.
David Van Eekeren assumed the role of President and CEO of Land O’Frost, making it a third-generation, family-owned company. Donna Van Eekeren became Chairman of the Board.
Land O’Frost welcomed Wimmer’s Meats, a leading provider of specialty sausages and hot dogs, into the brand family along with Ambassador, Fairbury, and Bassett’s.
Land O’Frost is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and the Premium brand is the bestselling product in its segment in the US. Growth continues with the recent acquisition of Wellshire Farms, producers of natural and organic meat products.
At Land O’Frost, we’re a family business that’s been making great tasting lunchmeat for more than 60 years. As a 3rd-generation family-owned company, we consider our consumers, customers, and suppliers a part of our extended family. Together, we’re one team focused on creating new ideas and products, while always striving for excellence. Today, our brands also include Ambassador, Wimmer’s, Fairbury, Bassett’s, and as of recent, Wellshire Farms.
In 2011, we launched a multi-year partnership with JDRF, focused on raising much-needed funds for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and creating awareness of their efforts to cure, treat, and prevent T1D. Over the past few years, we’ve rallied behind JDRF through a number of activities and events to help raise funds for the cause, including their annual Walk to Cure Diabetes event.
We’ve partnered with Changing the Face of Beauty, a non-profit organization that advocates for equal representation of individuals with disabilities in advertising and media. Together, we’re focused on advocating for inclusive imagery, changing perceptions and igniting futures in the media and advertising industries. Recently, we teamed up to host a Headshot Clinic for children with special needs and had the opportunity to take over 30 professional photos.
As a family company, we see great importance in keeping our communities and their families healthy and active. That’s why we started the Land O’Frost Youth Sports Initiative in 2003, which provides funds to local communities to help cover costs associated with organizing and operating their youth sports organizations for children up to 10 years old.
So far, the Land O’Frost Youth Sports Initiative has benefited hundreds of thousands of children across the country. And we don’t plan on slowing down. We’re fueled by the energy we see in the children and their families, participating together in healthful, well-rounded experiences and we’re excited to continue to grow the program further.
In 2015, we partnered with NATURE CAT, PBS KIDS’ newest animated series, geared towards children, aged three to eight, to inspire them to imagine, discover and create through outdoor play. As a company, we’ve had a long-standing commitment to families, and for three generations we’ve supported and created programs that help parents and kids connect with one another. Through our funding of NATURE CAT, we’re helping provide family-friendly entertainment with a valuable message to children across the country.